Federal fisheries minister Gail Shea announced from Beijing that China has agreed to buy Canada’s seal products. In a deal to be signed on January 13, 2011, China will purchase seal meat, as well as pelts and oil, providing much-needed relief to sealers following the European Union’s ban on all seal products in 2009. “The population is so high in China that if everybody buys some pelt or product from seal, we won’t have to trade anymore with Europe,” says Denis Longuépée of the Magdalen Islands Sealers’ Association. “So it’s good news for us.” Meanwhile, Canada is protesting the EU ban, advocated by international animal rights groups, to the World Trade Organization. The Fisheries Department estimates the harp seal population in Atlantic Canada to be between eight and nine million.