Thank you, Mr. Johns.
That concludes the round of questioning.
With the permission of the committee, I'd like to ask a question or look for some information on this as chair.
Mr. Burns, in a previous question about seals, you mentioned that there was no quota as such, no limits. I think that there's a difference in that, because to my understanding, the limit that's announced each spring.... In the last report I saw, there are about 7.5 million harp seals on the east coast or the north and whatnot. The allowable take each season, I think, is about just over 400,000 seals. Nowhere near that gets taken, but nobody—and there's no one government at fault—has taken seriously in quite a number of years the growth of the seal population and its effect.
Do they eat herring? Yes, I would suggest they eat herring. They eat cod, they eat mackerel and they eat everything that swims in the water. I think they eat somewhere up to about 30 pounds of fish a day.
To say we don't know the impact on any stock from the predation of seals is a bit ingenuous, I think. I know the minister has appointed a seal task team and I'm looking forward to the results coming back from it. There are some really good people on it, and some of them I know.
As for the seal population, I can talk to any fisherman, and they can show me pictures from when they're out fishing. They're tearing up their gear and they're doing everything possible. There are thousands and thousands of seals floating around on the top of the ocean with a cod fish or some other species in their mouth, and something has to be done, whether it's driven by the department or driven by the minister. If something is not done soon to control the seal herd, we'll lose species that we'll never get back again.
I would suggest that if there was a predator similar to this on land, and it was devastating a beef farmer's herd or a dairy farmer's herd, government would find a way to go out an eradicate that predator, and you'd never hear tell of it again. Vegetable farmers in Newfoundland have permission to shoot nuisance moose if they're eating the cabbage and the turnip.
Seals haven't moved to that yet upon land, but they're doing the same thing in the water, and nobody—government, department officials, and minister after minister after minister—has taken it seriously. It's time for somebody, whether it's through science or whatever other information is needed, to give the minister the information that forces their hand to make a decision on seals once and for all. That's my final statement.
I'll thank everyone for their appearance here today. I know it wasn't easy at times, but again, you've always been available to come and appear before the committee, and we appreciate it very much. I'm sure we'll see you again in the future.
Mr. Arnold, you have just 30 seconds.