The CEO of U.S. based beauty products company says a multi-million dollar offer to buy out the Canadian seal hunt on the East Coast still stands, although the Canadian federal government initially refused her offer.

Cathy Kangas, founder of PRAI Beauty in New Canaan, CT, recently told a Prince Edward Island newspaper she is still willing to spend millions to get Canadian fishermen to end the seal hunt.

Kangas asked Ottawa and the provincial governments to match her contribution, to provide fishermen with $16 million, the value placed on the hunt by government sources.

According to the federal Department of Fisheries and Oceans, the 2005 seal hunt brought in more than $16.5 million (Canadian). The agency predicts this year’s hunt might be the most profitable yet, with an expected value of between $25 million and $30 million.

When the DFO refused her April offer, Kangas spoke with sealers on Prince Edward Island who said they would gladly give up their licenses for cash.

`’P.E.I. could become a seal sanctuary. It could bring tourists here,” Kangas told PEI’s Summerside Journal Pioneer. Her company, started in 1999, manufactures beauty products based on the prai root, a relative of ginger.

The PEI Fishermen’s Association is on record as opposing the idea, saying PEI fishermen want more access to the seal hunt in order to help curb a growing seal population. Many fishermen blame the growing herd for the failure of some fish stocks to rebound and others say the animals foul lobster gear.

— Nancy Griffin