The British experts demanded this statement as a balm for the wounded feelings of the pelagic sealer, and, such being the fact, the American commissioners assumed that it could do no harm to place it on record that he has conformed to the requirements of the law. But from the American point of view this paragraph has a wider and deeper meaning. We have seen in the opening paragraph that the decline in the herd has been continuous and uninterrupted during the period of the Paris regulations. It is admitted in paragraph 8 that the decrease for this same period has been a “notable” one. The rate is specified in paragraph 7 as from “nine to twelve per cent” during two years when the regulations were rigidly enforced. It only requires the climax of paragraph 10, asserting the perfect observance of the regulations, to complete their condemnation.
There are two ways and two alone whereby killing by man affects the fur-seal herd—namely, killing on land and killing at sea. Land killing has been vindicated in paragraph 9. We have here the necessary condemnation of pelagic killing expressed in equally full and frank terms. Land killing takes only males and leaves an adequate supply of bulls for breeding purposes; pelagic killing takes males and females alike, the latter sex constituting 62 to 84 out of every 100 killed.
It is not a vital matter that the female sex should be found to predominate in the pelagic catch, except in so far as it proves the falsity of the returns made so persistently by the Canadian sealing captain that the sexes are taken in virtually equal proportion at sea. The essential thing is that females are killed at all. That three fourths of all the animals taken at sea (during one season 140,000 animals were so taken) are of this sex only emphasizes the destructive nature of this industry.