The socio-economic benefits of sealing on Canada's east coast are numerous. Sealing has been a tradition and profession passed on from generation to generation in the Maritimes for centuries. Currently, over 5 000 Canadians and their families rely on the annual seal hunt for a portion of their income. Some sealers have reported that up to 35% of their annual income is acquired from sealing.
In 2005, the Government of Canada recorded a value of $16.5 million as a result of the annual seal hunt. In Newfoundland and Labrador alone, seals are the fifth largest harvest.
European bans on the harvesting of whitecoats and bluebacks in the early 1980s resulted in dramatic income losses to Inuit's in Newfoundland and Labrador. As a direct result of the European ban, many Inuit's lost as much as 1/3 of their income.
Many Canadians are employed as a result of the annual seal hunt in Canada. Processing and refining facilities in the Maritimes and Quebec employ hundreds of workers. These facilities prepare seal pelts for tanning to create clothing.
Other facilities render seal blubber to extract a natural, purified source of Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are deemed "essential" by scientists, health care professionals and international organizations. Seal oil is extracted and sold in capsule and liquid form as a health supplement.More on Omega-3s
The Government of Canada encourages the full use of seals. Maximum usage of seals is ensured by rendering and selling seal oil, clothes and meat.