Little ice in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence has meant a significant decline in the seal hunt this year, according Department of Fisheries and Oceans officials. Only four boats — from the Îles-de-la-Madeleine — have participated in the hunt this week, Alain Belle-Isle, communications manager for the department, told CBC News on Monday.

“There was a total of just a little over 1,200 seals taken to date,” Belle-Isle said. “But activity in the gulf is winding down now with the disappearance of the ice and with it the seal populations. “As we understand it, as of Monday morning, there is one vessel that is still active but we expect that the activity is going to wind down over the next few days.”

The total allowable catch for the southern gulf this year was set at 105,000 seals.