Paul McCartney and his wife will travel to the ice floes off the Canadian Maritimes today to observe seal pups before the country’s annual hunt opens. The former Beatle and Heather Mills McCartney, both longtime animal-rights activists, will head out to the frigid ice floes in the Gulf of St. Lawrence today and Friday in their bid to prompt Ottawa to end the annual hunt of seals. The timing of this year’s hunt is uncertain. Generally the hunt runs from mid-March through mid-April, but the unseasonably mild winter has put the hunt date on hold. Twenty years ago, the centuries-old industry appeared doomed. Celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Martin Sheen pushed to ban the hunt amid a worldwide campaign that featured graphic photos of doe-eyed whitecoats, or baby harp seals, being bludgeoned on the ice floes. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECasino Insider: Here’s a look at San Manuel’s new high limit rooms, Asian restaurant The United States moved to ban the import of seal products in 1972, and the European Union instituted a partial ban in 1983. Prices plummeted to as low as $5 per seal pelt, and in 1987, Canada banned the killing of whitecoats. But by the mid-1990s, new markets opened up in China and Russia, the price for pelts started to rise, and the sealing industry’s efforts to encourage humane harvesting practices limited the impact of renewed protests. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!