Underwatertimes.com News Service - July 11, 2006 21:59 EST

The Fisheries and Marine Resources Ministry says the annual harvesting of seals takes place in line with the country`s laws and accepted international conservation principles and practices.

In a media release issued yesterday, the Ministry reacted to what it described as recent extensive and negative publicity about the seal harvesting in Namibia by international environmentalists.

Namibia's annual seal-harvesting season started on the first of this month and will end on the 15th of November this year.

According to the Ministry, its management strategy is aimed at ensuring the sustainable use of the marine resource.

It pointed out that the total number of adult seals is estimated at around 700-thousand and pups at around 185-thousand, adding that the latest biological information shows that the seal stock in Namibia is currently in a healthy condition.

It further quotes the most recent scientific information available reveals that the seal population in Namibia has enjoyed an overall recovery rate of 73 percent.

The ministry further rationalize that it is estimated that seals consume on average about 985-thousand metric tonnes of fish, per annum.

Namibia lands between 500 to 600-thousand metric tonnes of fish per annum for human consumption and export.