Tag Archives: seals

Seals are overfishing at unsustainable rates! Gulf of St. Lawrence cod extinction ‘highly probable,’

“At the current abundance of grey seals in this ecosystem, recovery of this cod population does not appear to be possible, and its extinction is highly probable,” the report says. DFO fish biologist Doug Swain said the cod population is now about five per cent of levels in the 1980s, and the downward spiral is accelerating despite a moratorium on a directed cod fishery in the Gulf since 2009. The problem is an “extremely high” and “unsustainable” death rate for cod five years or older. >click to read< 11:29

Seals On Cape Cod Are More Than Just Shark Bait – They are also destructive.

There are tens of thousands of seals on Cape Cod and the Islands, and everyone seems to have an opinion about them. Some see them as an adorable tourist attraction that helps the ecosystem. But to others, they’re Public Enemy No. 1 — a messy, fish-eating shark magnet that needs to be culled. Chatham-based commercial fisherman Nick Muto is one of the latter.,, He says fishermen see the seals as “totally protected eating machines.” “They’ve destroyed a lot of the inshore fish populations,” he says. “They’ve become a real nuisance to people, fishermen. They’ve attracted the sharks. And they’re also polluting the waters.” Amend MMPA, and Cull! >click to read<  08:32

Naturalist Peter Trull: Don’t Blame The Seals

Why are there virtually no codfish to be found in the waters off Cape Cod? Depending on who you ask, it’s because of the eating habits of the thousands of gray seals now living in local waters, or it’s because of decades of chronic overfishing plus ecological changes, like warming oceans. Peter Trull, Pleasant Bay Community Boating Curriculum Developer and Naturalist, comes down squarely on the latter cause. He calls blaming the seals “the biggest misconception” that exists on this topic today. >click to read< 07:18

EDITORIAL: Ocean imbalance

Fisheries scientists, writing in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, suggest that the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence cod stock may be extinct by 2050, because cod five years old and older now face an annual mortality rate of 50 per cent. The stock was already hit hard by the fishery, and collapsed in the 1990s. But it’s still not rebounding, even after years of limited fishing, and the scientists suggest that could be because the cod congregate to spawn, and are easy targets for the Gulf grey seal population, whose numbers have grown from around 6,000 in the 1960s to 100,000 in 2014. >click to read<08:20

‘Get the balance back’: Amid seal and sea lion boom, group calls for hunt on B.C. coast

For the first time in decades, a small-scale seal hunt is taking place on Canada’s West Coast — all in the hopes that it leads to the establishment of a commercial industry to help control booming seal and sea lion populations and protect the region’s fish stocks.,,, The hunting of seals and sea lions — which are collectively known as pinnipeds — has been banned on the West Coast for more than 40 years. It’s one reason their numbers have exploded along the entire Pacific coastline of North America.,,, Fisheries scientist Carl Walters, a professor emeritus with UBC, believes culling the regions sea lions and seals could dramatically boost salmon stocks. He points to numerous studies showing how pinniped populations have been increasing, while salmon numbers have been plummeting. >click to read<17:14

Cape Cod: Expert says sharks, seals here to stay

Last year, George Burgess predicted that a fatal shark attack would occur on Cape Cod within five years. “It’s the combination of a large predator, and the things they eat, both gaining in population size and both coming back to lay claim to areas that historically were theirs 150 years ago,” Burgess, now retired after 40 years as a shark researcher and curator, was on the Cape last week to gather information for the shark attack file on the region’s two shark attacks this summer, including one that resulted in the death of 26-year-old boogie boarder Arthur Medici. Burgess stressed his concern over the loss of life and his sympathy for the victim and his family, but said the Cape has now turned a corner,,, >click to read<11:09

Do seals affect your commercial fishing activity?

Seals eat approx 7% of their body weight when they eat – say 24lbs. Unfortunately, seals don’t necessarily eat the whole fish that they pick from fishermen’s nets – they tend to take a single mouthful from each fish – often to get at the liver – especially with fish like hake.  To this end the NFFO are carrying out a survey and encourage all those fishermen who have been affected to take part. This survey is for commercial fishermen in England about their experiences of interactions with seals (seals feeding on catches, damage to gears and entanglement). Your responses will help us better understand the extent of seal–fishery interactions around the country and identify options for non-lethal measures to reduce these interactions. Participation in the survey is voluntary. Video, >click to read<08:58

Hunters demand quota to cull thousands of seals and sea lions to save salmon population along B.C.’s coast

The Chief of Haida Gwaii First Nations is calling for a hunting quota on at least 3,000 seals and sea lions in his community and along the west coast of B.C. to help repopulate the critically low salmon stocks. The newly-established Pacific Balance Pinnipeds Society led by president and Chief Roy Jones wants Fisheries and Oceans Canada to establish an “annual harvest quota” on seals and seal lions. “It would be nothing to take probably 3,000 seals out Haida Gwaii, maybe 1,500 to 2,000 sea lions, because the populations are crazy up here,” said the 67-year-old Chief and retired fisherman who grew up watching his father and uncle hunt seals. >click to read<22:43

Sympathy to new state Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife director

Dear Mr. Kelly Susewind, Allow me to express my deepest sympathy. .,, You said it was an honor to serve the people of the state of Washington. And you want to “deliver the results they deserve.” That’s scary.,, The orcas are starving from a lack of salmon. So, we shut down the salmon hatcheries and protect the exploding population of sea lions, seals, cormorants and mergansers that eat as many salmon as the orca and humans put together. The surviving salmon are forced to swim through the thousands of tons of pollutants in a chemical stew that we dump into Puget Sound every year, whose ingredients include but are not limited to sewage, drugs, pesticides, herbicides, personal care products and industrial chemicals, while ignoring the impacts on fish, orcas and humans. Pat Neal  >click to read<14:59

Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife names Kelly Susewind new director – >click to read<

Seals a major factor in fewer salmon

Re: “Ottawa cutting chinook catch to save orcas,”>click to read< May 25. The article concerning the decline of chinook salmon and orca populations fails to mention the influence of seals. According to the University of British Columbia marine mammal research unit, seal numbers in the Strait of Georgia increased from about 5,000 to more than 40,000 from 1970 to 2008, and now kill about half of the juvenile coho and chinook. Reducing the salmon sport catch without addressing the exploding numbers of seals will not help the orcas much. >click to read<17:53

Endangered orcas compete with seals, sea lions for salmon

Harbor seals, sea lions and some fish-eating killer whales have been rebounding along the Northeast Pacific Ocean in recent decades. But that boom has come with a trade-off: They’re devouring more of the salmon prized by a unique but fragile population of endangered orcas. Competition with other marine mammals for the same food may be a bigger problem than fishing, at least in recent years, for southern resident killer whales that spend time in Washington state’s Puget Sound, a new study suggests. click here to read the story 07:43

Researchers probing marine mammal genitals, copulation with simulated sex!

Dara Orbach is probably one of very few people in the world who regularly gets sent dolphin vaginas in the mail. “The boxes don’t usually smell very good when they arrive,” says Orbach, a post-doctoral fellow at Dalhousie University and a research assistant at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts. The marine mammologist has spent the last few years studying the genitals of whales, dolphins, porpoises, sea lions and seals to understand how they fit together during sex. It’s not an easy thing to do. First, she has to actually obtain the animals’ vaginas and penises. Orbach has a permit to receive the reproductive organs of marine mammals that have died of natural causes after a necropsy has taken place. It has taken her years, but at its peak, her collection included about 140 specimens. Second, she has to figure out how the penises and vaginas interact in real life when, in fact, they’re lying inert and disembodied on her laboratory table. click here to read this story 12:30

US warns threat of an export ban over continued killing of seals by Scots fish farms

Ministers have received a warning about the continued shooting of seals by fish farms as the US poses the threat of an export ban which could cost the Scottish economy £200 million a year. New figures reveal that despite the salmon industry giving a “clear intention” to cut the number of seals shot to zero, fish farms and fisheries were continuing to kill them at a rate of over eight a month last year, under licence from the Scottish Government. The details have angered protesters who are concerned that that instead of finding alternative ways to deal with seals, fish farms are continuing to be content to shoot to kill. The US is now requiring proof that its seafood imports are harvested in a way that minimises harm to marine mammals. Later this year, the US is expected to release a country-by-country list of fisheries deemed acceptable and those deemed non-compliant.  continue reading the story here 09:31

DFO scientist says no ‘strong indications’ seals are gobbling up all the cod

It’s a widespread belief in fishery circles, but one DFO scientist says that for now, you just can’t assume that it’s true. John Brattey says the scientific evidence does not support the notion that seal populations are hindering the rebuilding of cod stocks by gobbling up all the fish. Brattey admits it’s not easy to get good data on the diets of harp seals, but says what studies have been performed do not support the notion. Some evidence can be found just by looking at the recovery rates in the last decade, he said. continue reading the rest, click here 08:43

“They (seals) are destroying the crab stocks.” – Bearded seal harvested with a belly full of snow crab in Green Bay

Baie Verte native Danny Dicks recently harvested a bearded seal (square flipper seal) with 181 identifiable female and two male crabs in its stomach. The seal weighed between 200-300 pounds and measured approximately seven feet long. The Pilot spoke with Danny’s brother, Deon about the seal and what it was eating. “Bearded seals are not as common as the harp seals that are usually harvested,” Deon said. “They are much larger and can dive down in the deep water for crab and I’ve even seen them with rocks in their bellies.” “The females are needed to produce,” Deon said. “They (seals) are destroying the crab stocks.” Link 15:21

Study says predators may play major role in chinook salmon declines

A new study shows that increased populations of seals and sea lions are eating far more of Puget Sound’s threatened chinook than previously known, potentially hampering recovery efforts for both salmon and endangered killer whales.  Seals and sea lions are eating about 1.4 million pounds of Puget Sound chinook each year — about nine times more than they were eating in 1970, according to the report, published online this month in the Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences. Most of these chinook are small fish migrating to the ocean, which ultimately reduces the number of adults returning to Puget Sound. The study estimates that seals and sea lions are decreasing potential returns by about 162,000 adult chinook each year. That’s twice the number eaten by killer whales and roughly six times as many as caught in Puget Sound by tribal, commercial and recreational fishers combined. Read the rest of the story here 21:16

Five things Steve Crocker told the standing committee on fisheries and oceans

2016-05-27-03-35-38-tel%20a09-10032016-minister%20steve-crockerProvincial Fisheries, Forestry and Agrifoods Minister Steve Crocker appeared before the House of Commons Standing Committee on Fisheries and Oceans this morning at the Sheraton Hotel, St John’s. His presentation was part of the committee’s study on the northern cod stock, which stretches from the Grand Banks to the south coast of Labrador.  Newfoundland and Labrador has an extremely small share of the current global cod market. Currently, the Newfoundland and Labrador cod fishery primarily produces single frozen fillets and portions in the form of loins and tails,,, The management of forage species such as caplin can be better integrated with the management objective for cod, and the impact of competitors and predators such as seals could also be considered,,, Read the rest here 13:11

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

Seals blamed for drop in Strait of Georgia juvenile salmon stocks

sun032612mammals4-jpgA bountiful population of harbour seals is a prime suspect in the decline of coho and chinook in the Strait of Georgia, according to a new study.  The population of harbour seals has grown steadily with federal protection, from fewer than 5,000 in 1970 to about 40,000 in 2008 in the Strait of Georgia — a period that corresponds with marked declines in coho and chinook. “In the 1970s, you could take 60 to 70 per cent of the population sustainably every year and there’d still be plenty of fish coming back to spawn — and that just doesn’t happen any more,” Read the article here 19:47

Seals threaten Scottish cod stock recovery

PREDATORY seals are constraining the recovery of cod stocks in Scottish west coast waters, research by the suggests. The study found that, although fishing has now halved, predation by seals has rapidly increased to compensate, eating up more than 40 per cent of the total stock. Seals have, historically, been anecdotally blamed for the reduction of Atlantic cod stocks. Grey seals are believed to consume nearly 7,000 tonnes of cod each year off the west of Scotland, where landed catches now amount to only a few hundred tonnes. Read the rest here 20:40

NEFSC Conducting Protected Species Program Review April 13-16 in Woods Hole, MA

NOAA ScientistScience programs at NOAA’s Northeast Fisheries Science Center that support protected species conservation and management in the Northeast will be peer reviewed at the Center’s facility in Woods Hole, MA April 13-16, 2015. The species involved include whales, small cetaceans, seals, and sea turtles, as well as fish populations that fall under provisions of the federal Endangered Species Act. Click here for more information on the meeting, including logistics and meeting materials. Read the notice here 13:46

Sea lions inundate Oregon Coast in historic numbers wreaking havoc on fisheries, causing damage to docks and infuriating fishermen

During a Feb. 11 aerial survey, WDFW also counted more than 1,200 California sea lions at the East End Mooring Basin, along with nearly 600 Steller and California sea lions on the South Jetty. On Friday, spokeswoman Jessica Sall of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said, her agency counted 2,340 California sea lions at the East End Mooring Basin. Increasing numbers of pinnipeds, driven by starvation in California to the healthy smelt and salmon runs in the Columbia River, have put a strain,,, Read the rest here 19:59

Dear America, our seals are not endangered

March 25, 2015 Bruce A. Heyman Embassy of the United States to Canada 100 Wellington St, Ottawa, ON K1AOA6  Mr. Heyman, I am writing with deep concern over misinformation being spread by United States Customs and Border Protection agents that seal populations found off of Canada’s East Coast are an endangered species. A Newfoundland and Labrador woman’s seal-skin purse was confiscated recently at the seal-skin purse was confiscated in Bridgewater, Maine after agents informed her that seals are an “endangered species.” Read the rest here 13:27

Voracious protected seals starting to overrun waters off New England

seals eat cod 5But what is the cost? Nils Stolpe, a Florida-based fishing industry journalist and advocate, calculated that since each seal consumed 5 percent of its body weight each day in squid, mollusks, crustaceans, and a variety of fish including rockfish, herring, flounder, salmon, hake, and lance, and don’t forget cod, it amounts to q a quarter million pounds daily. Annually he added it up to 450,000 million pounds, about 200,000 metric tons. Read the rest here 07:07 Read Dogfish and seals and dolphin, oh my! by Nils Stolpe here

A Must Read! FishNet USA / Dogfish and seals and dolphin, oh my!

The bottom line is that while commercial fishermen from North Carolina to Maine are at work catching on the order of half a million mt of fish and shellfish a year, it appears as if it takes an annual 20,000,000 tons or more to keep all those marine mammals and low-value spiny dogfish and various other predatory fish going. How much of that 20 million tons is commercially/recreationally valuable species or the forage species that sustain them? No one seems awfully interested in finding that out, but they sure should be. Read the rest here 10:55

Southern Gulf of St. Lawrence – Direct link between the increase in the herd of seals and increased the mortality of cod

A study conducted by researchers from fisheries and Oceans Canada just give reason to those who believe that the grey seal is a real threat to the balance of the cod stocks. For Magdalen Islanders hunters as for Gaspé fishers, this conclusion says and just put an end to a debate that lasts for years. This article was translated from French Canadian Read the rest here 16:49

Sea lions take a big bite out of returning salmon runs

“When the region is directing more than half a billion dollars a year to fish and wildlife recovery and nearly half of the spring run is being consumed by seals and sea lions, then we definitely have a problem,” a member of the Northwest Power and Planning Council said. Read the rest here 14:40

Fishermen Convicted of Improperly Harvesting Seals

Duncan Sharpe of Gander, Kevin Blackler of St. John’s, and Richard Worthman of Heart’s Delight were convicted for improperly harvesting seals in accordance with humane harvesting requirements under the Canadian federal Fisheries Act.  Read more here 07:46

Seals gobble half a million fish – commercial fisheries report almost 500K in losses

Professional fishermen in Finland are up in arms about damages to their catch and equipment from grey seals. Recent figures from the Finnish Game and Fisheries Research Institute estimate that the market value of fish lost to seals is 466,000 euros. (578,820.87 US Dollars)  Read the rest here 09:00

Commercial harvester says seals, not climate change, is the reason for decline of cod in New England

GreySealwebAn Associated Press story recently drew a comparison between the decline of cod in the United States with what happened to the northern cod stocks in the late 1980s and 1990s that impacted Canada’s east coast communities and changed the face of the fishery in this province. Read the rest here 08:20