Ice imperils 100 seal-hunt vessels off Canada coast
Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers smashed through a massive expanse of ice off Newfoundland's northeast...
ST. JOHN'S, Newfoundland — Canadian Coast Guard icebreakers smashed through a massive expanse of ice off Newfoundland's northeast coast Wednesday in a bid to free about 100 seal-hunt vessels.
About 15 vessels were in danger of having the Atlantic ice pierce their hulls, said Department of Fisheries and Oceans spokesman Phil Jenkins. The thick, moving ice poses the danger of sandwiching and cracking the boats.
"There's an onshore wind that is compacting the ice," Jenkins said. "These boats are on their way back from sealing and then got stuck in the ice."
The Newfoundland part of Canada's controversial seal hunt is the third and largest stage of the hunt. The total quota for all three phases is 270,000 animals.
Fishermen sell seal pelts mostly for the fashion industry in Norway, Russia and China, as well as blubber for oil, earning about $78 per seal.
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