The Seal festival, or rather its real name, The SealFest!
For a second year, The SealFest is back in twenty restaurants in the province. Yes yes, you read correctly! This gastronomic festival invites you to taste seal meat, a typically Canadian meat, even part of our heritage. The chefs offer you new dishes!
The Montreal Sealfest at Belon!
To kick off the festival, I was invited, accompanied, by the Belon to taste a tartar of seals. A meat of choice! The carefully cut fillet surmounted by a raised guacamole, allowing the red, wild and iodized seal meat to take up all the space it deserves. Halfway between deer and tuna, the taste is surprising! All food lovers will love. In agreement with wine, choose an aromatic red wine.
After dinner, I had the opportunity to meet one of the organizations at the head of the festival. Fascinating how controversial the seal is!
Hunting or not hunting the seal?
In the past, the seal hunt unfortunately gave way to poaching. For decades, the seal hunt had to be banned in the territory to prevent the resale of seal skin. This ban is creating an imbalance in the Gulf of St. Lawrence today. The seal, this nice little marine animal so pretty, is in fact a predator that feeds on cod *. In order to restore a certain balance, a very strict and supervised hunting is again available in Quebec. In the context of controlled hunting, 90% of the animal is kept, only the carcass is not usable. A very small part will be good for human consumption, we are only talking about nets. However, everything else will be used to make omega 3 capsules and food for our little companions at home.
That said, a superb discovery!
Do not hesitate to reserve your spot in one of the 23 participating restaurants, the SealFest festival ends on March 31st.
*There is ongoing debate about the possible negative impacts of grey seal predation on fish populations, particularly Atlantic cod. Over the last 30 years, the grey seal population off the coast of Atlantic Canada has grown rapidly – from 30,000 in the 1970s to about 505,000 today.
Scientific research suggests that grey seal predation could account for much of the high natural mortality of cod in the southern Gulf of St Lawrence. At current rates of natural mortality, stock growth is not likely unless productivity increases well above levels observed in the past decade.
In October 2012, the Standing Senate Committee on Fisheries and Oceans recommended the harvest of 70,000 gray seals over a period of four years.  Since that recommendation, only a handful of gray seals were hunted, but 150,000 have been added.