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Archived - Government of Canada Congratulates the Government of Nunavut on Important Step to Securing Access to European Markets for Seal Products

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The Government of Nunavut Is Formally Recognized Under EU Seal Regime

July 31, 2015

Ottawa, Ontario -The Honourable Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada, and the Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council, today congratulated the Government of Nunavut for achieving an important milestone in securing access to European markets for seal products.

The European Union (EU) has formally approved the Government of Nunavut as a Recognized Body under the Indigenous Communities Exemption of the EU Seal Regime, which means that Government of Nunavut will be able to certify sealskins as having been harvested according to the rules of the exemption.

This has resulted from the cooperation between Government of Nunavut and the Government of Canada partners, notably Fisheries and Oceans Canada and the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development. The Recognized Body status secured by the Government of Nunavut was negotiated under the framework of the Canada-EU Joint Statement on Market Access for Seal Products. 

This is an important step under the framework for cooperation between Canada and the EU to ensure that Canadian Aboriginal communities have the same access to European markets for their seal products as any other indigenous community.

The Government of Canada is committed to maintaining existing markets for seal products and supporting the development of potential new markets.

Economic Action Plan 2015 committed $5.7 million over five years to help secure new market access for Canadian seal products by establishing a system to certify seals products resulting from traditional hunts and to help Aboriginal sealers develop effective sealing business. To deliver on this commitment, the Government has established the Certification and Market Access Program for Seals, which will provide support for certification and tracking systems, ‎capacity building in Aboriginal communities, and support for accessing new markets.

As with all Canadian fisheries, Fisheries and Oceans Canada supports and regulates the seal harvest and is committed to ensuring it is sustainable and conducted safely and humanely.

Quotes

“Sealing continues to be an important economic and cultural activity in Atlantic Canada, Quebec and the Arctic. This is an important step towards helping northern Aboriginal communities that depend on the seal hunt ensure that they are able to provide for their families and maintain their traditional way of life.”

Gail Shea, Minister of Fisheries and Oceans Canada

“Our Government has championed Canada’s seal hunt at home and on the world stage. For more than three years, we fought against the European Union’s unfair ban on seal products and I was proud to take our fight all the way to the World Trade Organization where we won a significant ruling that found this ban was arbitrarily and unjustifiably discriminatory against Canadian Indigenous sealers. I am pleased to see that with the hard work of our Government and the Government of Nunavut, we have now secured access to the EU market for Inuit sealers, who depend on the seal hunt to provide for their families and maintain their traditional way of life.”

The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of the Environment, Minister of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency and Minister for the Arctic Council

Associated Links

European Union approves exemption for Nunavut seal hunt

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Contacts

Frank Stanek
Media Relations
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
Ottawa, Ontario
613-990-7537

Sophie Doucet
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
613-992-3474

NR-HQ-15-49E


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