New “Gadget”? Underwater noisemaker to scare away seals at Ballard Locks

On a recent morning, after some acrobatics and horsing around, a seal cruising the locks suddenly took an all-business turn. When it resurfaced, it was with a mouth crammed full of coho. The Hiram Chittenden Locks, built more than 100 years ago, allow navigable access from the freshwater of Lake Washington and Lake Union to Puget Sound. But the locks also inadvertently created an attraction for seals. The concrete chute of the locks concentrates salmon, making easy pickings. As salmon runs have declined in Puget Sound, a range of methods has been tried over the years to shut down the buffet. Underwater firecrackers, pingers, even Fake Willy, a faux orca that used to be lowered into the channel in an attempt to scare off seals and sea lions. Now a new gadget is being tested at the locks, intended to startle seals to deter them. >click to leave< 20:20

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