Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials have confirmed that this seal hunting season has been the worst since the early 1990’s when the industry struggled to recover from a European ban on the importation of white pelts from young harp seals. The total number of harp seals killed in the 2011 commercial harvest was about 38,000 — less than 10 per cent of the allowable catch, set at 400,000. The industry’s latest slump is the result of a shrinking world market and poor ice conditions in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off the north coast of Newfoundland.