Sealskin is the skin of a seal.
Seal skins have been used by aboriginal people for millennia to make waterproof jackets and boots, and seal fur to make fur coats. Sailors used to have tobacco pouches made from sealskin. Canada, Greenland, Norway, Russia and Namibia all export sealskin. It was traditionally used to make Scottish sporrans.
The Inuit people indigenous to Canada and Alaska argue that banning seal products is detrimental to their way of life. However, there are many objections to the use of seal skin, fur and pelts, and it is illegal to hunt seals in many countries, particularly young seals. The value of global sealskin exports in 2006 was over 16 million Canadian dollars.
Pinseal is the term for sealskin leather.
- "Inuit loophole for sealskin sporrans". BBC News Online. 20 September 2010.
- "Seal pelts. Who buys them and how are they used?". Harpseals.org. External link in
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Leather-making is an ancient craft, but it's met up with some state-of-the-art technology. Electron beam radiation, we've found, can replace the salt solutions now used to kill bacterial growth-much to the benefit of the environment. Not only is brine curing corrosive to equipment; it contributes to water pollution. We also found a way to reduce the number of poor-quality hides that make their way into leather processing. Laser light-scattering photometry can be used to evaluate hides according to the orientation of their fibers. High-tech detective work has tracked down a cause of shoemaking woes. One type of leather, which broke under the stress of manufacture, was found to have a genetic defect that's specific to certain Hereford cattle. It was ARS researchers who identified cockle, a seasonal flaw of sheepskin, as the work of a parasitic insect called keds. Once they realized that keds not only lowers the value of the skin but also causes sheep to grow more slowly, sheep farmers began treating their herds to control infestations.