Canada's controversial seal pup hunt began as hunters from the sealing ship Techno Venture started clubbing four-day-old pups in a large herd near the Magdalen Islands.
A marine biologist for the Fisheries Department who flew over the herd said he estimated there were 50,000 pups in the extremely large herd.
Hunters went onto the ice and started killing pup seals for their white coats for export to West European markets. They reported 756 kills, the Fisheries Department said.
The Greenpeace environmental group's ship, heading for the hunt area to protest the killings, was delayed by a large ice field. About 20 crew members plan to use two small hovercraft to beat government regulations banning nonhunters from getting near the hunt.
They plan to spray the seals with indelible green dye to destroy the commercial value of the pelts, or shield the pups from hunters' clubs with their own bodies.