The ban on the import of seal products passed by the European Commission earlier this month won’t have any direct effect on the few seal farmers in Iceland. Icelandic seal products are primarily exported to Greenland.
A seal in the Reykjavík Zoo. Photo by Páll Kjartansson.
“Seal products haven’t been exported from Iceland to the European Union for many years so the ban has no direct impact on us,” chairman of the Association of Seal Farmers, Pétur Gudmundsson from Ófeigsfjördur in the West Fjords, told Fiskifréttir, a Vidskiptabladid supplement.
“The small amount of seal skin that has been exported from Iceland in the last few years has gone to Greenland. That is only skin from harbor seal, which Greenlanders use for a certain part of their national costume. There is not much harbor seal in Greenland and therefore they are interested in these skins,” Gudmundsson explained.
“In this country not more than a few dozen skins from harbor seal are produced each year so this export has no impact on the national economy,” Gudmundsson added. “However, skins from ocean seals are a novelty in Iceland and used in handicrafts for all sorts of objects.”
According to information from the Icelandic Marine Research Institute, seal hunting in Iceland is rather insignificant; only 384 seals were hunted in 2007.