By Louise Redvers
They claim the motivation for the culling is not conservation, but demand from Asia for the animal products.
The plan was outlined to Parliament by Environment Minister Maria de Fátima Jardim, who said the country needed to "make the most” of the resource that seals offered, "from the skin to the bone”, and joked to the house about her "beautiful” Namibian sealskin shoes.
Angola's fishermen have long complained about seals consuming fish stocks in the Baía dos Tigres, close to Angola's border with Namibia, where there is a large seal population and a controversial annual cull which has drawn global criticism from rights campaigners. A study published in late 2012, by the Instituto Nacional de Investigação Pesqueira (National Institute of Fishery Research) estimated Angola's seal population at about 27 500 and said that it had grown 14% in the past six years.
Reports in state media quote different fishing association leaders claiming that an adult seal can eat anything between 8kg and 30kg of fish a day.
However, Sheryl Fink, the director of the seal campaign at the International Fund for Animal Welfare, said: "To date, there is no scientific study on a cull of seal populations anywhere in the world that has shown it to have a beneficial effect on fish stocks.”
Noting that South Africa had long stopped seal culling, she said attempts to control populations of predators like seals could have an "unexpected” impact on sensitive ecosystems and that any plans for a cull should be applied "very cautiously”. More....