CAN: Canada's controversial seal hunt starts
24 Mar 2009 2:43 AM
Canada's annual seal hunt is under way .. amid continuing protests from animal rights activists and an international effort to ban imported seal products.
A Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman says about 20 sealing vessels have ventured out into the ice floes .. while some land-based hunting is also under way.
This year's total allowable catch has been set at 280-thousand .. up from 275-thousand last year.
Animal rights groups say the seal hunt is cruel .. difficult to monitor .. ravages the seal population .. and doesn't provide a lot of money for sealers.
The start of the hunt comes three weeks after a European Parliament committee endorsed a bill to ban the import of seal products to the 27-member union.
AAP RTV srp/psm/