December 1, 2017
Manager of ITI’s Fur Marketing Program, Francois Rossouw, joined a delegation addressing the European Union in Brussels this week to sell the idea of a QR code for seal skin products harvested under the “Inuit Exemption”.
The European Union (EU) banned sealskin products in 2009. But following challenges led by Canadian governments and Inuit leaders and organizations, Greenland, Nunavut, and most recently NWT Inuvialuit harvesters, indigenous exceptions were given under the European Union’s seal products prohibition.
European Union Opens Door to Inuvialuit Seal
The exemption will require sealskin products to be certified Inuit in origin.
QR, or quick response codes, may be an answer. “It’s a barcode that you can easily scan that directs the consumer to an EU landing page on its website… that tells them that these products are exempted and they’re legal for entering the EU,” Rossouw explains.
Rossouw's attendance in Brussels was made possible by funding from the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Hovak Johnston also represented the NWT Inuit as an Inuit ambassador and culture revivalist presenting a personal perspective on the realities of seal ban on indigenous people.
Natural sealskin is one of the most popular products sought by NWT artists under ITI’s Hide and Fur Procurement Program.