Too Many Seals – Canada’s Pinniped Population Problem
Above: Photo Credit: Canadian Seal Products
Seals in Atlantic Canada eat a lot of fish every day and there is a great deal of them, coming in at nearly 12 million animals.
Their voracious appetite, according to experts, is damaging both the commercial fishery and fish stocks.
Bob Hardy has spent a good portion of his life dealing with seals in one way or another. Growing up in Battle Harbour, Labrador, Hardy spent some time taking part in the inshore cod and salmon fisheries. ...
DFO Makes Good on Seal Summit
Event Garnered Some Criticism as Majority of Discussions Took Place Behind Closed Doors
The seal industry might have been on display, but the majority of the conversations surrounding it took place behind closed doors.
The federal government played host to its promised seal summit in St. John’s on November 8 and 9 to discuss the utilization of the marine mammal with the commercial fishing industry, Indigenous communities, provincial representatives and other stakeholders — ...
Atlantic Seal Science Task Team Report Well Received
Seals chowing down on lucrative, commercial fish species in Atlantic Canadian continues to be one of the biggest worries and complaints harvesters in the region have — but argue that their concerns are falling on deaf ears.
However, is that finally about to change?
In May, Federal Fisheries Minister Joyce Murray, released the report from the Atlantic Seal Science Task Team (ASSTT).
The Task Team was established in March 2020 to gather input on science activities and programs related ...
FFAW Launches Seal Awareness Campaign
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) recently launched a nationwide campaign to call attention to seal overpopulation in Atlantic Canada and the devastating effects on fish stocks.
The union representing fish harvesters is calling on the federal government to immediately undertake adequate scientific work to understand the true impact seals are having off eastern Canada’s coasts and to ensure appropriate action is taken to repair the ecosystem imbalance.
“The federal ...
Seal Overpopulation Linked to Threatened Extinction of Two N.L. Cod Stocks
The Fish, Food and Allied Workers Union (FFAW-Unifor) is calling on the federal government to take immediate action to control seal overpopulation in an effort to protect extremely vulnerable cod stocks on the south coast of Newfoundland and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence.
The most recent assessment of southern Gulf cod (4T) was clear; extinction of that cod population is highly probable due to predation by grey seals, the union stated in a press release.
“Scientists in the region took ...
Seals Continue to Plague N.L. Fishery
As winter arrives, we have time to reflect on this past year’s fisheries pros and cons, quotas, catch rates, challenges and management issues.
There are planned advisory meetings and consultation on future direction, fisher challenges, quotas and impacts of climate change, commercial fishing and natural mortality.
Recently there has been discussion on the impact of grey seal predation on groundfish stocks in the Gulf. There are an estimated 500,000 grey seals (DFO census 2014) or seven ...
Sick Seal Garners Too Much Attention
Recent news articles say a lot about current public opinion on seals in Newfoundland and Labrador and the rest of Canada.
When one sick seal washes ashore, the public, Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) and the media carry the story for several days.
There are an estimated 10 million seals (six species) in Newfoundland and Labrador and there are plenty of natural mortalities. Instead of wasting resources on an autopsy, why doesn’t DFO conduct scientific research on the real ...
The Ecosystem and the Connection Between Capelin, Cod and Seals
Growing up, every year we would go out in my grandfather’s trap skiff to get a load of capelin for the gardens.
You did not have to search for capelin back then, they would land in the same beaches every year.
I returned to the fishery in 1977 and spent the winters sealing — there were good markets, good prices and you could sell seal meat for canning. You could cut open a mature harp seal and fill a five-gallon bucket with capelin — but not any more. The seal hunt continued until ...
Seal Fishery Opening April 9
DFO advises Newfoundland and Labrador Seal harvesters that the seal fishery will re-open in Sealing Areas 4 to 23 and Sealing Areas 25 to 27 at 0600 hours on April 9.
This fishery will open for Front Longliners, Areas 5 to 8 Small Boats and Speed Boats, all Area 4 vessels and for Gulf Longliners, Gulf Small Boats, Gulf Speed Boats as well as Personal Use. This includes License Classes N100 to N106, N200 to N204, N300 to N302, and N400-N401.
DFO further advises Seal harvesters having a ...
More Questions Than Answers
The problem with aspects of our fishery has more to do with what we don’t know.
What we do know is that both the crab and shrimp populations in some areas are in serious decline and salmon returns this past year on Newfoundland’s east coast were the worst on record. As well, the seal population on Canada’s east coast numbers some eight million in total, no doubt the highest on record and that there are a whole lot of anomalies and changes taking place in the water column.
We also ...