Eric Hancock's Seal Hunt

(Barbara Collins)

I first went sealing in 1971. The sealing vessels were named N.V. Minia II and N.V. Theron. The Minia II is about 300 feet long and the Theron is about 150 feet long. There were twenty-two sealers on board, eighteen of them were from Fogo Island. We were out to the ice for about a month and half.

Guns were used to kill the old seals and bats were used for the young ones.At that time we were allowed to kill the white coats, but not any more.

Once my friend and I were chased by a polar bear. We shot at it and missed, but at least we weren't eaten. Another day we had a fire on board the Theron. All the rooms were burned inside.

Another time we were stuck in the ice for twenty-one days. We drifted for miles. The only way to clear our path was to use dynamite. After we got out, we had to work long and hard to catch up for lost time. The more seals you killed the more money you would make. One day our meals had to be brought out to the ice because we were too busy to stop.

There is no longer a big seal hunt; it is only for long liners and small boats. don't think it will ever be like it was back then. But, they will have to put a quota on it because the seals are eating a large percentage of the fish. It was a good experience for me at the time because it was my first trip to the ice. Now that I am married, I don't think I would go back to the way it was.


  1. When the boat Eric Hancock was on was stuck in the ice, what did they use to clear the path?

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