Proceedings of the Standing Senate Committee on
Fisheries and Oceans
Issue 7 - Evidence - March 27, 2012
OTTAWA, Tuesday, March 27, 2012
The Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans met this day at
5:40 p.m. to study the management of the grey seal population off Canada's
Senator Fabian Manning (Chair) in the chair.
The Chair: Good evening, everyone. I call the meeting to order.
Welcome to the meeting of the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and
Oceans. I am Senator Fabian Manning, chair of this committee, from
Newfoundland and Labrador. Before I introduce the witness before us this
evening, I would like the members of the committee to introduce themselves.
Senator Harb: Mac Harb, Ontario.
Senator Demers: Jacques Demers from the province of Quebec.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Céline Hervieux-Payette from the riding
of Bedford, in the Eastern Townships, Quebec.
Senator Poy: Vivienne Poy from Toronto.
Senator Raine: I am Senator Raine from British Columbia.
Senator Patterson: Dennis Patterson, senator from Nunavut.
The Chair: We have several other senators who also serve on the
committee. They may arrive later on and we will introduce them when the
The committee is continuing its study on the management of the grey seal
population off Canada's East Coast and is hearing today from Chief Roy
Jones. Mr. Jones will speak of seals and sealing in on Canada's West Coast
and share his views on the health benefits of seal products.
Welcome to the meeting and thank you for taking the time to join us. I
understand you have opening remarks you would like to make and then we will
open the floor to questions from the senators. The floor is yours.
Chief Roy S. Jones, Jr., President, Pacific Balance Consulting Inc.:
First, I would like to extend my sincere Háw'aa, which is thank you in
our Haida language, to the Senate for allowing me to address you today. As a
hereditary chief, I would also like to acknowledge the people whose land we
are on, the traditional lands of the people of these territories. My Haida
name is Cheexial Taaiixou. It is my hereditary chiefdom name. My English
name is Roy Jones. I would like to introduce my host in Ottawa, my friend
Paul Stanton and his wife Deb, with whom I am staying. I am having a
wonderful time while I am here. We are long-time friends. As I said, I am on
the board of directors of one of the companies he was with when he came out
to Haida Gwaii to do some sports fishing. We have built a friendship from
that, and it has become very strong.
In opening, I would like to say a blessing. May the blessing of the Great
Spirit be with all who govern and make decisions for people in this great
country, and may the decisions be made for the benefit of the young and
those who are not born yet.
This is why I am here. I have been studying the seal problem for 30 years
this year. It has been a very serious problem on the West Coast of Canada,
where I live. In 1981, on a hunting trip there, we saw the impact of seals'
predation on a salmon river, called Salmon River in the Lockport area of
Area 2 East. As a result of that, it allowed me to study the bounty of the
seal — our traditional diet — and the bounty ran from 1914 to 1964 and 1972.
Upon the implementation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 in the
United States, Canada ended all seal hunting on the West Coast of British
Columbia. At that time, they were hunting for pelts.
About 18 years ago, I was visiting a friend who was a doctor in Victoria;
again, I was a guest at his house. I picked up a book that was written by
Dr. Michael Lyon, a sports doctor. The title of that book was Healing the
Hyperactive Brain. The term "omega-3 fatty acids" continued to come
up, both in and out of the book. Not having a clear understanding about it,
I continued to research it. Ten years ago this year in June, I was invited
to a conference at Foreign Affairs and International Trade where a number of
doctors made presentations on omega-3 fatty acids. This kind of sealed the
deal for me to get a clear understanding of what omega-3 fatty acids were
all about. In the last 10 years, I have studied them intensively to the
point where I have been doing workshops from Newfoundland to British
Columbia, California, Hawaii, trying to educate people on the value of
having a good traditional diet and supplementation of omega-3 fatty acids
and various values of them.
It has been a long and an emotional road. When you see your lifestyle and
traditional diets being challenged by lack of management practices, it has
been a really tough time; it has been an emotional one for me.
On my journey here, I had the chance to visit my 11-year-old
granddaughter. She is in the children's hospital and they do not know what
is wrong with this little girl, because as soon as she sits up, her world
starts spinning. I am carrying that with me, and we had a death in our
family in the last two weeks. I am trying to juggle all of this, and I hope
that my presentation to the Senate and the question and answer period will
be of benefit to our people and all Canadians in the future. It is a very
important subject. I analyze the benefit of the time I spend. I have a
granddaughter and three grandsons, and I do this for all children.
I have sent a PowerPoint presentation to the clerk. Perhaps it would be
best if I take questions from you. Again, thank you for allowing me to
appear before you.
The Chair: Thank you, Chief Jones. On behalf of committee members,
we wish your granddaughter, you and your family all the best. We start this
life with family and end it with family, and nothing comes before family.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Chief Jones worked for free for three
months to prepare a declaration that has been sanctioned by the governments
of Newfoundland, Nunavut and Quebec on the ethical hunting of seals. He made
a tremendous contribution. I am sure that he is too modest to mention that.
It will not be mentioned during the meeting, but I would like to thank him
for it. He was very generous with his time. Of the group of scientists who
worked on the report, he was the one who truly knew the subject matter on
the land. I would like to recognize him for that.
The declaration has official status in every province that has signed it,
and we are now in the process of having other countries sign it.
The Chair: We appreciate your intervention, Senator
I congratulate you, Chief Jones, on that work.
Senator Harb: I want to join my colleague in congratulating you
and wishing a speedy recovery for your granddaughter.
I want to assure you that not only members of this committee support your
work; everyone supports your work. There is a common denominator for those
who are on the side of the hunt and those who are against the hunt, and that
is that everyone supports your inherited right to support your communities
and do the good work you are doing.
Mr. Jones: Thank you, sir.
Senator Hubley: I, too, would like to extend a warm welcome to you
this evening and to underline the importance of the work you are doing. It
will be important for our committee.
I would like to ask a few questions on commercial sealing in British
Columbia. There are three kinds of seals in British Columbia: the harbour
seal, the northern fur seal and the northern elephant seal. In your view,
which of these species would be the appropriate target of a commercial seal
Mr. Jones: The most valuable target of a commercial seal fishery
would be the harbour seal. They are equally as abundant as the Steller sea
lion, the population of which is totally out of control. The difference
between the two is that the harbour seal is predominantly in the mouths of
our rivers and in the small rivers and streams and the sea lions are
basically in the larger rivers and the mouths of the inlets.
I want you to put one thing into perspective with regard to the impact on
the salmon resource on the West Coast. The Fraser River, the Dean River, the
Skeena River and the Nass River have been the four largest salmon-producing
rivers on the entire B.C. coast throughout history. Until about 1976, these
rivers produced 35 to 40 per cent of the biomass of the British Columbia
salmon run. Today these four rivers produce well over 80 per cent of salmon
coming to the British Columbia coast. This means that the small rivers and
streams are being decimated and are no longer producing the biomass that
came into our inlets, our rivers and streams, especially the smaller ones,
which have suffered the most.
You see before you a map of Area 2 East. Historically they walked a
little over 210 small salmon-spawning rivers and streams. Today, they walk
less than 50. The rest are totally wiped out. There are no fish coming.
There is a limited amount of industry that impacted this. We are so eager as
people to blame each other, be it the commercial fishermen, the loggers or
the miners. However, there are areas in that geographical area that have had
absolutely no human intervention, yet the rivers are totally wiped out.
Senator Hubley: Is the seal the predator that has decimated or at
least affected the salmon stock?
Mr. Jones: I will rely on the science for this, because some do
not believe my anecdotal evidence. Peter Olesiuk, from the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans, released a report in April 2010 that is referenced in
the pacific balance impact. It says that 36 seals will kill 3.2 million fry,
or fish going back out in the springtime. The study was done on the
One thing I made clear to the marine mammal coordinator, Paul Cottrell,
for the Department of Fisheries and Oceans Pacific region, is that you take
this report and apply it to every river and stream on British Columbia's
coast and then put the reality to work. All the work that they have done,
due to budget restraints, has been done on the Puntledge River.
In 1998, they culled out some of the seals in the Puntledge River. In
2002, in the cycle run on the chum salmon they had a 300 per cent increase
in return. Because the Cowichan River to the south and the Campbell River to
the north did well, they said their science was inconclusive. This is the
way the science has been done with Department of Fisheries and Oceans. It
comes with the bias that they are willing to protect the seal because of
what they call the popularity that goes with public opinion and the
Senator Patterson: Welcome to the committee. We really appreciate
your coming all this way, especially in light of what you have been going
through lately, and we wish you all the best.
I would like you to talk a bit about, as a hereditary chief, the relation
of your First Nation to the salmon and the seal. I am familiar with the
relation of Inuit to sealing. I would be interested to know if traditionally
seals were harvested by the coastal people. I believe they were whalers.
Could you elaborate on that, please?
Mr. Jones: The seal was an integral part of our Haida diet. It not
only provided food, but also it provided clothing and stuff to wear
throughout our community, and shelter as well.
When I talk about the seal and our people, I have to talk about the
fundamental diet change of our people. Due to the Industrial Revolution,
which basically started around 1902-03, and then when World War I started,
they were seeking some materials to build planes with. Haida Gwaii spruce
was sought out for the building of those planes. We came into a fundamental
diet change around 1920.
By 1948, we started to see our first diabetes; we started to see our
first arthritis and cardiovascular disease in our community. It was a
28-year shift in the diet. Through that time, the bounty was on the seal,
and then the 50 years that the bounty was on the seals, it was during the
three wartime years that they did not pay bounty. The seals were left alone
for three years without paying bounty. However, the pelts were always
That fundamental diet change changed the tongue of our people and seal
was not a popular food, even in my time. I was born in 1951 and have just
recently started eating seal again and trying to introduce it to our people.
We had that change there, but when we look around the world, studies of
omega-3 fatty acids have been going on for a number of years now, and the
top doctors meet in Florence, Italy, every year now. Some of the evidence
that they came up with, the fundamental diet change that has been happening
in the Arctic basically came around 1960. In 1978 the cost of health care
and the decline of the traditional diet crossed, and health care had gone up
a tremendous amount.
Greenland was one of the last fundamental diet changes that is recognized
in these omega-3 fatty acid studies, and that was an 18-year period. We are
talking about the world diet change and this newly introduced food coming
into our communities. When you go into Greenland, the fundamental diet
change for a majority of the communities in Greenland was in 1985. In 1992
they had that change. As a result of that, a doctor out of Copenhagen did a
documentary called The Hunt for Life, which addressed the problems
that they were having with their diet at that time. It is a very well done
documentary and highlighted exactly what we are going through today: the
high cost of health associated with the food we are eating.
On the West Coast, when you ask that question, salmon is still an
integral part of our diet but soon to become a forbidden fruit of the sea,
as the abalone did, due to a lack of management practices.
Senator Patterson: Thank you very much. Chief, you referred to the
scientific evidence gathered, and you said that it was valued more than
anecdotal evidence. I wonder if you could nonetheless give us your
perception and elaborate further on the relationship between seals and the
decline of salmon, and perhaps a little bit about what you described as poor
Mr. Jones: At the end of the day, a lack of managing predators has
always been a problem. It started in 1964, when the environmental community
first started going out to stop the harvest of the East Coast seal pups. In
1972 they had quite an accomplishment when they got the 1972 Marine Mammal
Protection Act in place.
I do not know how many Haida people eat seal today, but it is not very
many. The impact of the seal is that when you see a river stream coming in
that traditionally had a salmon run of 18,000 to 22,000 salmon running into
that river, and it is supported by all the other little rivers around it,
and there are 120 seals in that river, you have a problem. Today our people,
more than ever, are depending on that salmon for our winter food. There are
more people eating out of their freezers than ever before and jarring up
fish for winter supply, drying, smoking, doing everything they can with it.
It is a very important part of our food today.
I do not know if I got that out there properly.
Senator Patterson: Thank you.
Senator Poy: Thank you very much, chief. I am interested in the
health issues that you mentioned earlier.
You spoke of a change of diet. I presume you were referring to moving
from eating seal to eating salmon. You say that there are now all kinds of
diseases prevalent among the Haida people because of the change of diet. Are
you talking about salmon or are you talking about seal?
Mr. Jones: No, I am talking about a fundamental change of diet.
There are processed foods coming into our community like never before. We
eat canned food and chocolate bars. Nothing we eat today is a traditional
diet by any means.
Senator Poy: It has nothing to do with the omega-3 oils that you
were talking about, or has is? In my mind the two are linked, because once
you eat less seal and less salmon you will not get enough omega-3 oil.
Mr. Jones: That is true. I will revert to the science I was
talking about. There are more than 50 health conditions associated with that
change of diet. In 1933, two brothers, doctors, went up to the Arctic and
found that the people had no health problems. They had no cardiovascular
problems, no diabetes and no arthritis. Even in the 1700s, in Manchester,
England, they used fish oils and cod liver oils to help people with
arthritis. The change of diets has deeply affected people. It is akin to
bringing a form of smallpox into a community. There is no other way to say
it. People are suffering from it today.
Senator Poy: You are very worried about the salmon stock.
Mr. Jones: Yes.
Senator Poy: In relationship to seal you used the words harvesting
and culling. The harvest is done by sealers?
Mr. Jones: Yes.
Senator Poy: When there is a cull, it is done by other people. Are
we talking about harvesting?
Also, I see on your PowerPoint that the local people use 100 per cent of
the seal. However, when it is harvested en masse, that will not happen?
Mr. Jones: There is a difference between culling and harvesting.
Senator Poy: Yes, a big difference.
Mr. Jones: Bounty hunting is a culling method. Today it is totally
not acceptable to do a cull, and for good reason. The health benefits
associated with harvesting far outweigh culling as management. We have to
distinguish between the two practices. We could use 100 per cent of the
animal in a commercial market venture today. Our people will not change
their diet back to what it was. They can learn from a harvesting practice.
If we start the practice today, hopefully in one or two generations they
will be back in a healthy state due to good traditional diets.
Senator Poy: I am only familiar with omega-3 oil from salmon. Do
many fish oil manufacturers use seal?
Mr. Jones: Yes.
Senator Poy: I am not familiar with that.
Mr. Jones: There are many fish from which you can collect omega-3
oil. There is definitely a difference between the omega-3 fatty acids, and
they are basically in three categories. There is long-chain fatty acid,
medium-chain fatty acid and short-chain fatty acid. From seal, mother's
breast milk, finfishes and the eyes of fish you can get the same quality of
the long-chain fatty acid; then you have vegetable oil and flaxseed oil.
Many scientists do not consider flaxseed oil to be an omega-3 fatty acid.
They consider it to be a converter of omega-3 in our bodies; that is, it
will convert the EPA, which is the anti-inflammatory for blood flow and
joints, into DPA, which is the healing part of our body.
Senator Poy: You are saying that seal oil is top of the line?
Mr. Jones: Seal oil and mother's breast milk are the two highest
omega-3 fatty acids that you can get in the world today.
Senator Poy: But it is not yet commercially made in large amounts?
Mr. Jones: Yes, it is.
Senator Demers: Chief, I say a prayer for your granddaughter. You
have handled yourself with a lot of class.
You have said that many people are against eliminating seals. I am
learning a lot about seals at the Aboriginal Peoples Committee as well. What
is the biggest misconception about the elimination of seal? There is so much
criticism about that, and I think we do not quite understand what it is all
Mr. Jones: I will use Newfoundland as a benchmark. The seal is
cute with its big brown eyes, and there are many of them in Newfoundland.
They want to cull 33,000 moose in Newfoundland, and the animal rights people
say that that does not matter. Mr. Moose is delicious, but he does not look
as good as the seal. These people jump on bandwagons. For them it is not
about management but about principles. When your poster child is bringing in
a lot of money for your cause, you will go with your poster child, and that
happens to be the seal for PETA and other organizations like that. Seals
have no responsibility to nature, while as human beings we do have a
responsibility to harvest nature where nature is impacting other resources.
This is happening on the British Columbia coast, in Newfoundland and in
the Arctic, affecting the lives of not only the Aboriginal people who live
in those areas but also the non-Aboriginals who live among them.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: My office has contacted yours many
times. They sent me a recent decision of a judge in the United States who
ruled against the groups who oppose the Humane Society to authorize the
killing of some seals in order that there be a balance between the seal and
the salmon. It seems that it was going overboard there.
We have the same problem on the East Coast. I travel in Europe and I hear
all the criticism from politicians who will never be faced with seal
hunting. They have never seen it in their lives and, as you say, it is the
baby seal they are relating to. Brigitte Bardot is the big spokesperson. She
is usually shown at age 30, and now she is over 70. It is a big image thing.
I want to make sure if you share that idea, that the whole thing is
fabricated by lobby groups who are in fact vegetarians. Do you agree with
Mr. Jones: Yes.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I know the benefits, for my colleagues;
I take some seal omega-3. It is available in Quebec so we can buy it because
it is fabricated. I know all the benefits, too. I do not know if I will look
as good as you do, because I read in your biography that you are 86 years
Mr. Jones: No, my dad is 86 years old, 87 now.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I said you look so young.
The Chair: I was reading from the notes myself and I said if this
gentleman is 86 years of age and is taking omega-3 —
Senator Hervieux-Payette: There is a positive story, and maybe you
can help us to first establish that it is not a crime. It is a small
industry, and of course they do not have the resources. If they were
attacking beef, they would have a big enemy in front of them. Any other
animal in the country is big business. In this case it is a small, limited
business on both coasts. How do you suggest that we proceed to convince
people — in fact Canadians are a lot more convinced than the rest of the
world that this is an ethical way — there is an ethical way of doing some
seal harvesting? If people are coming from your community, they mostly
respect nature. It is part of their culture, and they do not kill just for
the fun of it like some people do with the caribou up north. They are doing
it to make a living. What do you suggest should be the line that we use when
Mr. Jones: I strongly believe that everyone has to understand that
we have a responsibility as human beings to naturally harvest from nature
and do it responsibly. The biggest part is when you look at metropolitan
Canada; they are making the majority of the decisions, and they have
absolutely no stake in nature until we quit sending them the foods that they
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Politically speaking, our biggest
opposition is not in our country. It is a fact that the Europeans have been
brainwashed by big PR machines coming from the United States. In fact, they
are being shown videos and all these things, and some of them are over 25
years old. There is a good story to talk about, and I guess you can be with
some of the people who are convinced that this is an activity that we should
be proud of as Canadians. I have argued many hours with any country in
Europe, but they have not seen one in their whole life. I went seal hunting.
I took my course as a seal hunter. I am a qualified seal hunter and I tried
to explain that this is an activity that 15,000 families live from, but
15,000 families in this country is not a big business. However, there is
omega-3 recovery. What else? I do not think the skin from the grey seals is
something that can be used to make a nice coat. We have to use younger seals
because they are killing each other all the time and having battles, and
their skin seems to not be in very good shape.
What else? Do you see the meat being used, for instance, to have animal
food? We are talking about using the animals the best way so that we
recover. This is the way I see the future.
Mr. Jones: There are a lot of starving countries out in the world
today. Using nature to hopefully supplement them in the future would be an
You made reference to the United States. In 2009, in an email I sent Ms.
Labonté, there is a report done by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on the
Columbia River; it is a very detailed scientific report. As a result of
that, they gave them permits to kill 14 or 16 sea lions in the Columbia
River. They have not done anything and they are adhering to public pressure
again. They are so entrenched in obeying the United States laws that it has
no bearing on whether things are good in nature.
When you talk about the meat, I worked very closely with the Chinese on
the West Coast of British Columbia, and we have sent samples to China of all
the meat. We have sent health samples over as well. In front of me I have
seal meat dishes in China, and these people eat anything. The guy I am
working with is the one that presented them and had them prepared in China.
They cooked up the penis and everything to serve them to the people, and it
was part of a meal. He said they will eat everything and anything over
there. He said that is the only part he would not eat. I asked the guys how
it tasted and they said it was excellent. That meat market could be a world
commodity so there is no reason. If we are going to harvest the grey seal,
whether we use it for dog food, human consumption, or fertilizer, there will
be a benefit in all three areas.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: The omega-3?
Mr. Jones: You will have the good omega-3 fatty acid, and we have
the sea lion on the West Coast, which is similar to the grey seal. It does
not have the same quality of omega-3 fatty acid that we have in the harp
seal and the harbour seal.
The difference between the harbour seal on the West Coast and the harp
seal on the East Coast is that the omega-3 fatty acid varies. On the West
Coast the omega-3 fatty acid content is between 22 and 27 per cent, and on
the East Coast it is from 18 to 22 per cent. We have a richer seal because
of a more diverse diet with the seals.
All those benefits are there.
Through the work that I have done, I have developed soaps, shampoos,
lotions and creams out of seal oil. They turned out to be the most
incredible health products that you can get, but the trouble is we are
having a hard time adjusting the odour. People like everything to smell
good. We made it smell real good, but we destroyed the effect. We are still
working on it. We are still playing around with it. This has been a seven-
or eight-year program.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: Thank you. I thought that if we know
what we can do and it is a renewable resource, we have to have a balance. My
last question is do you think that where we have an overpopulation it is
because the predators are not there anymore to make sure we have a balance
Mr. Jones: Yes. The other impact that you talk about that I do not
highlight a lot is in Langara Island — and Paul said this as well — and
fishing in the north and all around Haida Gwaii: The populations of sea
lions and seals are large enough in those areas that they are impacting the
The province of British Columbia will brag that up: Okay, we are getting
$30 to $40 per pound versus what the food industry gets out of what we class
as the commercial sport. That industry is now being impacted by seals and
sea lions in the areas where they are fishing. The only thing I take my hat
off to the sports fishing industry for, and if you did research on the West
Coast of British Columbia on salmon stocks, is that they have maintained the
integrity to look after their industry through salmon enhancement of spring
salmon and coho. All other stocks are very weak. A big run that came into
the Fraser River of sockeye is an anomaly. We may not see that again for
another 30 years.
Senator Raine: We have been hearing so much about the predation on
the commercial fishing business on the East Coast, and I was happy that you
came to say that we also have a problem on the West Coast. I am a little bit
concerned that you seem to indicate in your presentation, which I have read,
that DFO is not really doing any research or is not concerned at all about
what is happening on the West Coast, in comparison to what is happening on
the East Coast.
Mr. Jones: I work with Marilyn Joyce and Peter Olesiuk, whom I
have not worked with much lately, but I am always directed back to Paul
Cottrell now, who is marine mammal coordinator for the West Coast. We have
run into multiple problems. At the end of the day, it comes to back up your
science and stand behind it. They have all the science they need on the
predation of the sea lion and the seal on salmon. For some strange reason,
when they went into the Cohen Commission, none of that seemed to have
mattered. The report on predation is a lengthy piece in the Cohen Commission
that is going on regarding the missing Fraser River sockeye. It talks about
the seals, sea lions and the sockeye coming in at a time when they are not
eating fish. To me, that is hogwash. Peter Olesiuk, back up your work or do
not do it at all. That is the problem I have. I have had the Department of
Fisheries and Oceans come to my house with a letter saying if I shoot other
seal or sea lion, they will arrest me. I have that letter at home now. I
have no bones about shooting a sea lion that is taking a fish off my hook
that feeds my family. That is the thing. Sadly enough, the Council of the
Haida Nation has got leadership that sides with the likes of David Suzuki
and other outfits like that, the Suzuki Foundation. They do not want to be
conversely associated with harvesting seals.
On April 9, 2003, we had a conference in Skidegate. In the conference,
the majority of the Haida on the day had endorsed doing something about the
seal and sea lion. After the meeting the president contacted the lawyer, who
is one of my cousins, Terri-Lynn Davidson, and the vice-president at the
time. They spent the night writing a letter back to the vice-president of
the Council of the Haida Nation from what was then Eagle, and that letter
turned the people around and they voted against the issue the next day and
shut it down. We have that type of leadership.
There was one other thing. I made a note. You talked about vegans and
others; how do we address them? I use celery. When they approach me I say,
"Do you eat celery?" They say, "Yes." I say, "There you go. All the
moms and dads are standing around outside and as you cut down into the
middle, all the babies are in there." I said, "Celery has a life too." I
wrote that down here and I somehow skipped over it in my answer.
Senator Raine: I find it very interesting that you are involved in
researching and developing the products that use seal for health. I grew up,
as probably anyone in my generation did, with all six kids lined up with the
mother with the bottle of cod liver oil. We grew up with cod liver oil every
day. Back then, people knew that if you did not get vitamin D in the
wintertime, you got sick. We had cod liver oil. Now we have a whole
generation covered in sunscreen so you do not even get the vitamin D from
the sun, and we are not doing this.
Are you seeing any interest from the health scientists, the nutritional
scientists, in terms of utilizing these great oils for Canadian health?
Mr. Jones: I have done a number of workshops throughout British
Columbia and different bands brought me in. I have been doing this on my own
coin. I started up a number of businesses. I actually burned myself out
quite seriously, to the point where I could not wake up anymore. I was
working with your office. I have been to California, Columbia River, Hawaii,
some of the better places to work, throughout Canada, Alberta, doing
workshops on omega-3 fatty acids, basically living healthier through
omega-3. I have not had seal oil for five years and I get a call every day
Senator Raine: You cannot get it?
Mr. Jones: I can get it, but I have exhausted myself. One day I
was talking to my dad about this and he said, "You have to quit doing what
you are doing." I said, "Why?" He said, "You have spent well over a
million dollars doing what you are doing." Believe me, I work, I get a
contract, I fill the contract, I pay my bills, and any residue goes into
omega-3 fatty acid studies. I am living a bankrupt life doing what I am
doing, and I love every minute of it. I am committed. It is not about me
today; it is about my grandchildren and those not born yet.
Senator Raine: Is seal oil being produced on the West Coast?
Mr. Jones: East Coast seal oil is produced, being bought up by
capsulation companies and being capsulated on the West Coast, but there are
a number of problems. We are able to buy it from the East Coast but not from
the Arctic. A number of years ago, they sent the blubber down, vacuum-packed
it up and sent it to a processing plant for rendering in Montreal, and they
just lost their shirt on the shipping. They could not afford to do it, so
they do not do it in the Arctic.
We took another step to try to remedy that. My son-in-law is a
professional plumber. He has done some development. We developed a fuel from
seal oil that could be burned in a furnace, because it is too expensive to
get propane into the North. We have just presented it to some of the players
up there. For the cost of about 20 gallons of propane you can make about 300
gallons of seal furnace oil, and then you can take it to the next step. It
is quite a cumbersome process. You have to ship chemicals around and then
ship the semi-processed product out, but it still was not feasible.
Senator Raine: Research should be done by scientists in DFO or
Industry Canada on these opportunities.
Mr. Jones: I would like research scientists to endorse some
anecdotal evidence rather than doing the science. To quote a remark made by
a doctor at a meeting in Vancouver a number of years ago, there are
absolutely no absolutes in science.
Senator Raine: I was not thinking so much of analytical science as
about engineering science where you are trying to create processes to make
the products work. It blows my mind that we could be harvesting this
high-quality protein and high-quality oil for the betterment of humanity,
and instead we are reacting to a propaganda campaign that makes no sense at
Mr. Jones: I will speak to the health aspect. If Canada harvested
Atlantic seal oil and distributed it to anyone in Canada who wanted it, we
could cut our health costs nationwide by 40 per cent. My wife and a number
of other people are measuring sticks for that. I have been studying seal oil
for a number of years. When I was 15 years old, I got a pair of glasses.
When I was 52 years old, I ceased wearing glasses, and I had only been
taking seal oil for one year. My wife's arthritis pills and health bills
cost thousands of dollars a year. We cut it right down. She has not taken
estrogen for menopause for a number of years, because seal oil shuts down
My dad's first cousin, Percy Williams, who is a hereditary chief of my
dad's people in Skidegate, has had Parkinson's disease for a number of
years. I bought him a jar of seal oil and he quit shaking in three weeks.
The list of health benefits for humans from omega-3 seal oil
supplementation goes on and on. It benefits diabetes, arthritis and
cardiovascular disease. It assists from premenstrual syndrome to menopause.
There is incredible benefit from seal oil omega-3. The EPA in omega-3, one
of the collagens of omega-3 fatty acid, is an anti-inflammatory and it helps
the blood flow by smoothing the walls of the blood vessels. The DHA benefits
the nerves and the eyes. DPA is the healing part of omega-3 fatty acids.
When Dr. Morita made his presentation to us at Foreign Affairs and
International Trade, he talked about extracting DHA and healing cancer with
it in Japan. He injected the DHA into a person with prostate cancer and
destroyed the cancer cells. Omega-3 fatty acid has the power to retard or
shrink tumours in our bodies. The benefits are there.
Why are doctors not promoting it? One doctor who did was phoned 24 hours
a day, 7 days a week by the animal rights people. They live in fear of these
people. They have the knowledge to change the world but they cannot do it
because there are too many powerful adversaries out there.
Senator Cochrane: Do your people take seal oil capsules?
Mr. Jones: Yes.
Senator Cochrane: In Newfoundland and Labrador we make the seal
oil capsules from the seal oil. I am familiar with what you are saying about
arthritis. Years ago a politician in Newfoundland promoted seal oil
capsules. Many people started to use it, and I think it did improve their
At the end of your brochure it says that the rivers and the streams will
continue to be devastated by seals and sea lions. Would you explain that?
Mr. Jones: This is going on as we talk with the fry coming out.
The seals and sea lions in are in the mouths of our rivers and streams
gobbling up the fry. That is the impact I am talking about. In his report of
April 2010, Peter Olesiuk said that 36 seals will eat 3.2 million returning
fry. That is a public report on the fisheries website.
Senator Cochrane: You said that the Department of Fisheries and
Oceans will now consider a West Coast seal commercial harvest. Have they
agreed that it is the seals that are devastating many of these stocks?
Mr. Jones: Their scientists put that report out. Every time we
approach, they call our evidence anecdotal and say that they we cannot go by
that, that they need the science.
As early as 1998 and 2002, as I said earlier, they deemed their own
science to be inconclusive because two other rivers did better. I strongly
believe that they do not even believe in their own work.
You referred to having seal oil in Newfoundland. I know they make it
there. I went to Gander for a conference and looked everywhere to buy seal
oil, but could not get any, so I had to go into the business myself.
Senator Cochrane: I will put the word out and you will have
Mr. Jones: Then again, the companies that are making the seal oils
are also intimidated by the acts of the animal rights people as well.
Senator Hervieux-Payette: I still want to find a way of
stabilizing the industry. I just want to say to my colleague who was asking
if there was some recognition in terms of nutrition and complement of
nutrition that, yes, PhD people in nutrition are recognizing omega-3 as
being a very healthy supplement. I am related to them.
I would also like to ask the chief the following: I have met with the
people in the ministry in British Columbia at the provincial level. The
deputy minister was telling me that the activists against were in fact doing
the same thing for bear. He said that until there is a bear walking in the
middle of Vancouver, we cannot touch a bear.
It seems that it is not a story of one animal; it is a philosophy. Those
who are vegetarian, of course, it is like a religion. As far as I am
concerned, with all the McDonald's on this planet, I think we are far away
from all becoming vegetarians.
How do we help? That provincial deputy minister was sad. He was telling
me they were in private property, they were all over the place and they were
threatening children. If you had a property along the shore, you could have
these animals sitting on your property. Last year a young child, three or
four years old, was brought down in the water by one of these animals. It is
not a pet; these are huge marine mammals. Even a male of good standing
cannot fight these animals. They are very dangerous. They are not just
eating fish; they would be dangerous to human beings. I do not think we are
invading their territory; I think they are invading our territory.
How do we proceed? I agree with you on this question of arresting and
intimidating people. I think they are in fact close to criminal acts. I am
not kidding. I am serious about this. You cannot threaten people and think
that you have the right to do that because you have the right cause.
Who does not have the courage to stop this intimidation and side with the
Mr. Jones: I will use Haida Gwaii as a real answer to your
question. In the north coast, you know of the Great Bear Initiative,
generated by the spirit bear, and it is basically being run by the Coastal
First Nations. Through this process, they have shut down the bear harvesting
on Haida Gwaii, and they are only allowed to shoot four bears on Haida Gwaii
now. On Louise Island, per square kilometre, we have the largest population
of bear in the world. How do we get the Haidas' attention to turn this
around? Bears eat fish. Haida Gwaii fish is in serious trouble. Two
predators are uncontrolled: bear and seal.
When does salmon become a forbidden fruit of the sea? If I was a fish
manager today on the Pacific Coast, salmon would be classed in the species
at risk and various areas would be on the endangered species list. However,
it is the First Nations people who have become part of the problem now
because we have brother bear now. I always say it is so much easier for our
people to go to the co-op store and buy the food they need for their table
than it is to go out on the land and see the problems.
I grew up there. My dad was a commercial fisherman, my grandfather was a
commercial fisherman, and his father was a commercial fisherman. I became a
commercial fisherman and left the industry 14 years ago due to economic
setbacks. It was bail out or go down with the industry.
I have three daughters and four grandchildren, the oldest one being the
granddaughter, and three grandsons. I take the grandsons out fishing with me
now on a sports-type basis to teach them how to fish. We have lost touch
with the realities of nature, and the only way that you reinstate that is to
take away something that is extremely valuable so they can assess why they
As I sat on council from 1978 to 1984, we did everything in our power to
stop the abalone harvest, and today that is still a forbidden fruit of the
sea for our people and it is being poached like never before. This will
happen unless we start changing the mindsets to save a species that is going
The Chair: Thank you, Chief Jones. It has been an interesting
discussion, for sure.
Before we conclude our meeting, for the members of the committee, I
received two letters from the ministry of fisheries, which I want to read
for the record, in relation to our studies concerning the lighthouses. Both
letters were received on March 23.
We would like to thank the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and
Oceans for its report on the implementation of the Heritage Lighthouse
Protection Act. The response underscores the government's recognition of
the importance to stakeholders of preserving Canada's historic
lighthouses as a symbol of our coastal communities and our maritime
heritage. In closing, we would like to take this opportunity to thank
the committee for its work on this report.
That is signed by the Honourable Keith Ashfield and the Honourable Peter
We also had another letter in relation to our other study, the parallel
study to the one I previously mentioned, and it goes along these lines:
I would like to thank the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and
Oceans for its report Seeing the Light: Report on Staffed Lighthouses
in Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia. The government
thanks the committee for its extensive work on this matter and
appreciates its input. The government has no plans to de-staff
lighthouses, and since this matter has been examined extensively, there
is no need for further study on this matter. In closing, I would like to
take the opportunity to thank the committee for its work on this report.
I, as your chair, would also like to thank all members of the committee
for their work on those reports also. As we know, previous to doing our
study there was a plan afoot to de-staff the lighthouses in British Columbia
and Newfoundland and Labrador. Through the work of this committee and the
recommendations that we made, we changed the mind of someone along the line.
Needless to say, our work is taken seriously, and that is why it is so
important for the work we are doing here right now. Once again, I want to
thank everyone involved for those two excellent reports.
In closing, I want to thank Chief Jones again for his appearance here
before our committee. We are leaving tomorrow evening for a couple of days
in Nova Scotia to have public hearings and hopefully have the opportunity to
visit Sable Island. We look forward to those couple of days in Nova Scotia
as we continue on with our study. Once again, thank you very much.
Mr. Jones: May I also extend my gratitude to you for taking the
time to meet with me. It has been a big honour for me to be here. May the
blessing of the Great Spirit be with you all and your work.
The Chair: Thank you once again. The meeting is adjourned.
(The committee adjourned.)