A brief history of the past sealing in Tasmania is a fascinating view of fishing long since abandoned due to the rapid decline in numbers of the species and the new adopted status of these sea creatures and others such as whales.
Tasmania these days is renowned for its high regard for conservation both for its flora and fauna and is a leader in its efforts to protect its heritage and natural bounty.
Sealing was in effect integral in the founding of the colony and the local offshore islands.
Flinders and Bass indentified large numbers of Australian Fur Seals and Elephant seals in and around the island.
Elephant Seals can reach a maximum length of 21 feet and there oil,skins and meat were keenly sought by some dubious methods and hunters.
Exports of the product were mainly to England and China.
It began around 1798 when records indicated a harvest of 5200 seals.
Furneaux Group,Kent and Macquarie Island and the hunt including Elephant Seals saw a rapid escalation with a total harvest approaching 9000.
Governor King in 1803 expressed his concerns as the populations of these species were being decimated.
Such was the size of the trade Sydney,New South Wales received 27846 skins and 16000 gallons of oil.
By 1838 sealing was all but over and today the species is recovering though numbers are not what they were back in those days.
Fishing in Tasmania
Moderator: Ross Compe
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