Sons and Seals: A Voyage to the Ice


129 pages
Contains Illustrations, Bibliography
ISBN 0-919666-45-0




Reviewed by Ross Willmot

Ross Willmot is Executive Director of the Ontario Association for
Continuing Education.


This readable and useful account is based on the writer’s own experience as a sealer in 1979 doing research work for a master’s thesis at Newfoundland’s Memorial University on the controversial sealing industry. The book gives first-hand information about sealing since World War II not available elsewhere.

Included is a history of sealing, an industry second only to fishing in its effect on the development and culture of Newfoundland. Conversations recorded in standard English from the crew bring them alive and reveal important bonding relationships among themselves. The author ably interprets the sealers’ motivation for continuing to seal in the face of the dangers, deprivations, and hardships the hunt entails.

Mr. Wright argues that the possible loss of Newfoundland’s sealing industry transcends economic considerations, important as they may be. The hunt to Newfoundlanders is “a metaphor for the strength and stoicism that are their heritage.” The book is illustrated by photographs, maps, and drawings and has a selected annotated bibliography and three appendices on Canada’s policy on seals and sealing, on the World Wildlife Fund position on the 1982 seal hunt, and on the anti-sealing views of Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.


Wright, Guy David, “Sons and Seals: A Voyage to the Ice,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed June 19, 2024,