L-R (front) Yvonne Jones, Member of the House of Commons representing Labrador, Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development, Diane Lebouthillier, Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, Interim Chief Jenny Brake, Dion Dakins, CEO Carino, Kendra MacDonald from the Oceans Supercluster (back) Kendall Flood, CEO Ár n-oileán Resources Ltd. and Darren Halloran CEO Always in Vogue
January 17, 2024 – St. John’s
Interim Chief Jenny Brake attended a Seal Roundtable Discussion with the Honourable Diane Lebouthillier, the new Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and the Canadian Coast Guard, along with other stakeholders with an interest in the sealing industry.
At the roundtable, Interim Chief Brake spoke about the traditional, sustainable, and responsible practices of seal harvesting by Indigenous communities, and the importance of collaboration to grow the seal industry and expand domestic and international markets.
“We see the imbalance in the ecosystem right now. We have a vested interest in this and we’re not alone. Other Indigenous groups not only provincially but nationally share the view that we need to bring balance back to the ecosystem.”
One way to do this is to make the hunt more accessible and expand markets to allow the sale of seal products.
Qalipu Holdings Ltd., the band’s business development arm, sells Waspu Omega 3 seal oil capsules. The popular and sustainably sourced product is known for promoting heart health, decreasing inflammation in the body, and promoting fetal brain development, among other things. Interim Chief Brake noted that this resource is just one of many valuable seal products that should be made available to world markets.
“Other countries are at a deficit for protein and omega 3’s. We have those resources, and we need to be able to export them to international markets.”
Interim Chief Brake felt encouraged by the meeting with Minister Lebouthillier and confident that she will be a strong advocate representing the interests of Indigenous communities.
“I could see her sincerity. There’s a real determination and a commitment from her to move forward with this. I really feel that this Minister is going to impact change.”
It is our collective responsibility to approach this issue with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Qalipu First Nation urges Government to foster a dialogue that includes Indigenous voices. By doing this we can create a future with policies that respect both the environment and the rights and traditions of all Indigenous communities.