Seal Hunt Opens Monday

According to the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Sweden’s annual seal hunt  opens on Monday with a quota of 200.

The hunting season, aimed at killing off grey seals that damage fishermen’s nets and equipment, runs from April 16 until December 31 along Sweden’s Baltic Sea coastline.

No more than half of the seals can be killed before June 1.

In a statement the agency said ”seals can be hunted from Norrbotten in the north to Kalmar county in the south.”

The agency added that seal stocks in the Baltic Sea are increasing by seven percent a year and are now estimated at 24,000 seals.  According to the Swedish Board of Fisheries only a small number of seals damage fishing equipment, but the cost is estimated at around 8 millionUS dollars a year.

The 2007 quota is largely unchanged from 2006.

One change introduced to the hunt this year is that fishermen will now be allowed to kill seals from a ship, providing they seek a permit to do so first.  Previously, the hunt was only allowed from land.

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