Tag Archives: gray seals

Gray seals are making a huge comeback on Cape Cod (where there are no longer any Cod!)

For nearly a hundred years, New England’s gray seals had a bounty on their heads. Maine and Massachusetts paid people to kill them, because they depleted fishing stocks. They were also hunted for their meat and pelts. By 1973—a year after the Marine Mammal Protection Act made it illegal to systematically kill the animals—a census estimated there were only 30 gray seals left along the entire coast of Maine. Since then, Canada’s gray seals have returned to recolonize the east coast of the U.S.,,, Now, in a study published in Bioscience, researchers have combined Google Earth images and data from tagged seals to make a more precise estimation of the population.,, “Our technology-aided aerial survey, which used Google Earth imagery in conjunction with telemetry data from tagged animals, suggests the number is much larger—between 30,000 and 50,000.” Not everyone is happy with the pinniped’s population explosion—particularly fisherman, who see them as competition for fish stocks.  In recent years, some groups have advocated for culling the number of gray seals. Johnston says that not only would that be illegal, but it would also be premature. “We know almost nothing about what gray seals eat, how and where they forage,,, click here to read the story 10:48

Cape Cod: Summing up the seals

When David Pierce seated himself at the table at the Nantucket Seal Symposium last month, one image came to mind: private pilot Aaron Knight’s video from last April showing miles of gray seals – a dozen deep, cheek by jowl, banding the Monomoy shoreline. Recently appointed as director of the state Division of Marine Fisheries, Pierce is a veteran of decades of fisheries negotiations as former director Paul Diodati’s proxy on the New England Fishery Management Council. Fishery managers live and die by population estimates, known as stock assessments, that help set sustainable catch levels for commercial fishermen, so it was disconcerting to hear that the same level of science had not been applied to the predators who eat them. “The determination of population size is extremely important, especially in the context of ecosystem management in New England,” Pierce said. “If they (gray seals) are out there in large numbers foraging, what might their impact be on the Georges Bank ecosystem?” The answer will not be coming any time soon, according to federal fisheries officials at the symposium. Read the story here 09:43

Cape Cod Gray seals’ impact comes into focus for students that quantified the numbers

seals, cape codIn April, Aaron Knight flew a small plane along the shore of South Monomoy Island off the Chatham coast, taking an aerial video of a seal-lined beach below him. Among the many who saw the film on Facebook was Peter Trull, field naturalist, author and a seventh-grade science teacher at Cape Cod Lighthouse Charter School in Harwich. Like everyone, he was amazed. One Facebook post quipped there appeared to be “trillions of seals.” Maybe not trillions, but the images did beg the question, how many? But one unanswered question, Trull said, is how many seals are there? “There’s no number,” he said. “There are estimates and some speculation, but no number.” In the aerial images, Trull saw an opportunity to find the answer. Trull has done many aerial counts of various species for NOAA, the Center for Coastal Studies, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and National Park Service. Trull combined his expertise with a lesson for his students. Read the rest here 17:21

Cute Killers? Gray Seals Maul, Suffocate Seals and Porpoises, Studies Say

It seemed a heart-warming sight: two seals apparently frolicking in the sea before slipping below the waves off the German island of Helgoland (map) in 2013. Then an ominous sheet of red unfurled across the waves. When the pair resurfaced, the bigger seal was skinning and eating its companion. “We thought they were playing,” says marine biologist Sebastian Fuhrmann , “It looked really cute, but in just a few seconds, it was over.” Read the rest here 19:29

As numbers of gray seals rise, so do conflicts

Some residents of Nantucket are so fed up over the huge seal population that now calls the affluent island home that they have suggested a controlled hunt, similar to the way states manage deer. <Read more here> 12:09

As numbers of gray seals rise, so do conflicts

— Decades after gray seals were all but wiped out in New England waters, the population has rebounded so much that some frustrated residents are calling for a controlled hunt. Read more here 12:56

Read more here: http://www.bradenton.com/2014/07/20/5263283/as-numbers-of-gray-seals-rise.html?sp=/99/102#storylink=cpy

Thriving in Cape Cod’s Waters, Gray Seals Draw Fans and Foes

A survey in 1994 spotted 2,035 seals in Cape Cod waters. In 2011, surveyors counted more than 15,700, according to the National Marine Fisheries Service. Some scientists suggest the number of gray seals in United States waters may now be at its highest point in history. [email protected]

Seal tagging will be a first on East Coast

 Researchers hope to place tags on seven gray seals this week off Chatham and Wellfleet. It will be the first such tagging on adult gray seals in U.S. Atlantic waters, and scientists hope it will answer many of the questions they share with local residents and fishermen about these large marine mammals. Waring hopes the tagging data will begin to answer questions such as where adult seals go when they leave the beach, how deep they dive, what they feed on and whether they are shuttling back and forth between the large Canadian seal colonies off Nova Scotia or north in the St. Lawrence River. continued @ capecodtimes

Forecast for Cape seals: Lots of gray

CHATHAM — On a recent fishing trip around Monomoy Island, Orleans fisherman Bill Amaru and his crew counted 4,000 gray seals that had hauled out on the island’s sandy beaches. While the experts still don’t know the exact number of gray seals in our waters, the latest stock assessment from the National Marine Fisheries Service estimated gray seals on the Cape and Islands at 15,756 in 2011 as compared with 5,611 in 1999. On one day in April 2011, researchers counted more than 10,000 seals hauled out on Monomoy alone. continue reading