Bonavista-Trinity-Conception is, or was, a predominantly fishing region. The seals have become so numerous there that there's little to no chance of a recovery of fish stocks due to the voracious appetites of the seals themselves.
His remarks, I suspect, are primarily based on a financial aspect of the community, or lack of it.
There a lot of seals dying of hunger, I mean a lot. With such a limited food supply and the appetites, there simply isn't enough food for all the seals. I posted once before about in Nova Scotia, I've personally seem them run over by trucks and cars on the causeway. They're quite a hazard. Folks around that region just call them speed bumps now. And in various other areas, its quite common to see seals dead and washed up on shore from starvation.
Once the seal hunt was banned, the seal population exploded, and still continues to explode. They are literally everywhere.
I'm not justifying his actions or his words. What I am saying though is that anytime there is human intervention into nature, nature generally fights back and adjusts itself to achieve a balance, often with equally "inhumane" results.
The media and "alerts", and even a celeb or two, will jump on some bandwagon of the moment and the media is all over it. What they do not show you is the aftermath of what happens when humans tamper with something and nature has to re-adjust itself all over again.