Seal meat to hit local shelves next year

13 Nov 2014 10:10am
HENTIES BAY, 13 NOV (NAMPA) – Cape Fur Seal meat will be more readily available for local consumption by next year.
“We will first sell locally in towns such as Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Arandis, Usakos, Karibib and later nationally and internationally.
There is a very good market for seal meat at home,” the manager of the seal-processing factory in Henties Bay, Gys Cilliers revealed to Nampa on Thursday.
He could, however, not give a specific date when the distribution of seal meat will start, but assured the nation that it will be in 2015.
The factory called Seal Products Pty (Ltd) started operations in August 1999, and initially only exported the meat to China for further processing into animal feed, while small amounts of seal meat was sold locally.
Seals have abundant Omega-3 oil, while their skins are exported to garment manufacturers in Turkey.
The harvesting of Cape Fur seals takes place annually from July to November to regulate their populations in an effort to avoid them feeding too much, and thus depleting fish species in Namibian waters.
The Cape Cross seal colony supplies the factory with an annual quota of 21 648 pups and 1 755 bulls.
Cilliers said apart from their own harvesting quota, there are three other concession-holders whose quotas are being processed by this factory.
The factory closes on Friday this week for this season, and reopens in July 2015.
It employs 96 people permanently, but they only work between July and November each year.
Meanwhile, a N.dollars 18 million seal-processing plant will open next year in Lüderitz in the Karas Region.
The purpose of the project is to produce a variety of high-value products derived from the various components of the seal for sale to an established Asian market.
There are mainly four different groups of products rendered and commercialised, being skins, oil, meat and organs.
Approximately 300 seal cubs will be processed in this facility per day.