10/10/2014 06:12 EDT | Updated 12/10/2014 05:59 EST

Canadian Seal Product Deal Nears As Canada, EU Work Toward Inuit Sealskin Sales Agreement

Barcroft Media via Getty Images
PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, CANADA - MARCH 23: A baby whitecoat harp seal washed up on the shore on March 23, 2010 on Prince Edward Island in the Northern Gulf of St Lawrence, Canada. This year has been the worst ice year on record in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada, meaning that a record number of seal pups are expected to die. Each year hunters travel to the region to hunt the seals for their fur. The IFAW (The International Fund for Animal Welfare) have been documenting the ice conditions in Prince Edward Island and Newfoundland and discovered that few pups remain. Harp seals need ice for giving birth, nursing and resting, and seal mortality is expected to be very high this year as a result of the poor ice conditions. (Photo by Barcroft Media / Getty Images)
Canada and the European Union are edging closer to a deal that would open continental markets for Inuit sealskins.

The 28-nation EU bans the import of seal products except for skins harvested by indigenous people.

The problem for Canadian Inuit is that there has been no recognized way to separate their harvest from that of the East Coast seal hunt.

Terry Audla, president of Canada's national Inuit group, says that's what Canada and the EU are now working towards.

Audla says a deal won't solve the low prices for seals caused by the import ban.

He says there's no timeline for the two governments to work out how to brand Inuit sealskins in the European market.

Greenland Inuit have long had access to that market because the island has no commercial hunt.


#Sealfies Promoting The Seal Hunt