Iqaluit fur meeting renews calls to fight seal ban

When the EU introduced the seal ban, prices for pelts went from $70 to just $25. (CBC)Call comes as prices for other furs rise

Members of the Fur Institute of Canada will be in Iqaluit today for their annual general meeting.

The group, which promotes the sustainable and wise use of fur, is meeting in the Nunavut capital in part to say thanks to Inuit who continue to fight against the European Union’s seal ban.

The group’s executive director, Rob Cahill, said this is a chance to meet other people who are fighting to end the ban.

“We’re leading, with the Inuit, on the legal case against the European Union on their seal ban,” said Cahill.

When the EU ban was introduced in 2009, reports show the price of seal pelts plummeted from $70 to $25.

Today’s meeting comes at a crucial time, too – as people look to places like China to sell seal pelts, the price of other furs is taking off.

Last year, a single polar bear hide was sold for more than $11,000 US – a new record.

Last month, the average Arctic wolf pelt sold for just over $3,000, and an Arctic fox pelt sold for around $130.

The high prices may be thanks to Russia and China, where consumers have taken a liking to Canadian fur.

Fur institute members to try seal products

Nunavut Tunngavik Inc., a Nunavut land claims organization, is pleased the meeting will be in Iqaluit this week. NTI is a member of the fur institute.

Paul Ignaut, a wildlife advisor with NTI, said the institute’s members will be able to see first-hand how Inuit eat and use seal products.

“And we’re hoping to show them what life is like up here and they are fully aware of how we utilize the wildlife. And we’ll be talking to them in person,” said Ignaut.

The annual “Celebration of the Seal” will be held on Friday night to coincide with the meeting.

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