‘I’ve never seen anything like it’

Juris Graney
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Boat Harbour residents baffled by arrival of dead seals, fish 

Boat Harbour — As many as 20 dead harp seals have washed ashore in Boat Harbour over the past couple of weeks, leaving perplexed locals scratching their heads as to the reasons why.

Wallace Woodward, who has lived in the small community northwest of St. Anthony for most of his 52 years, says no one can remember such a thing happening before.

Last week, the carcasses of several seals lolled about in the breakwater; some had been pushed ashore by strong waves and others were buried under three feet of seaweed.

And it’s not just harp seals that have been swept into the harbour — hundreds of dead catfish have washed onto land, becoming entangled with the seaweed strewn along the shore.

A myriad of other marine life, like sea slugs, sea urchins and starfish have also perished in the past three weeks.

“I’ve never seen anything like it, b’y, in all my years,”  Woodward said Thursday, “It’s just unbelievable.”

The former fisherman said the catfish appeared to be malnourished and skinny, suggesting they may have been struggling to find food.

“The seals, though, the seals look like they were healthy before they died,” he said.

The largest seal was more than five feet long. Due to exposure to the elements and opportunistic scavengers, some of the carcasses were partially eaten.  

“Every now and again you’ll see a flipper poking up from the seaweed, or you’ll see them wash in,” he said.

“I don’t know, b’y. I don’t know what happened.”

The first dead seals started to appear not long after a storm surge swept across the Northern Peninsula  Christmas Eve.

Once the waters had calmed down, locals in Griquet noticed a few dead harp seals lolling just offshore.

A Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) spokeswoman said the department has received several reports of dead seals washing ashore.

“At this time we do not know the cause and DFO science is investigating,” she said.

The Northern Pen

Geographic location: Boat Harbour, St. Anthony

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Recent comments

  • Elizabeth Cook
    January 25, 2011 - 09:02

    The Coast Guard has allowed the continued use of Corexit in the gulf of Mexico. BP subcontractors continue to spray in massive quantities. I believe the poison has begun to track around the world's ocean currents. www.floridaoilspilllaw.com

  • JODY
    January 23, 2011 - 18:23

    I agree with victoria; people should read their bible and know this is going to be happening more often and with worst results.

  • Anon
    January 23, 2011 - 12:31

    The "conspiracy nutjobs" already called this years ago. It's not the end of the world. But "they" are following revelations to a Tee (on purpose) This is just the beginning. Just keep in mind that the next large attack will be staged like the last one.

  • Luke Thomas
    January 21, 2011 - 23:59

    This is great!! I hope ALL the seals die which will finally end the cruel seal hunt! YES!

  • Lyle
    January 21, 2011 - 04:03

    Pollution? which type of pollution? And since man causes pollution, you are the cause of killing these animals? No, that's too simplistic to blame everything on Man although not out of the realm of possibilities. And yes, some of these numerous animal deaths are close to the Oceans, but not all of them so that's not a common factor either. No it is something else. And that unknown is what is scary. My gut feeling/first reaction is to look towards natural causes...apply Occham's Razor principle...all things being equal the simplest thing is usually the reason...nature... gases being released from the seabed/faults/etc and when these can be ruled out start up from there

  • Tyrone
    January 19, 2011 - 22:47

    Go to YouTube and search on this stuff. You'll hit the jackpot with videos. Very sickening.

  • Matt
    January 19, 2011 - 22:39

    There's a website now tracking all these animal genocide deaths as well as other weird things that are suddenly going on. They're trying to establish a connection between all these things. http://thecomingcrisis.blogspot.com

  • Michelle
    January 19, 2011 - 16:54

    This is happening all over the world and not just his one area. Google dead fish, dead birds etc. the news is flooded with local articles about dead animals but there is nothing in MSM linking them all together WHY????? This can not be ignored!!

  • Donna
    January 19, 2011 - 07:48

    This is very disturbing and scarey stuff. How do we know that the fish we are eating is not also contaminated. If something can kill a harp seal, can it also kill a person? I don't like to think of the consequences of eating anything that has any association with the sea until someone discovers the cause of this.

  • andy uhrig
    January 19, 2011 - 05:01

    it's the big oil leak in the gulf of mexico that is still leaking. it will soon kill all the life in the sea. it is time for the media to talk about it. those seals died from poison from oil and dispersant. next summer we will see poor crops world-wide due to gasses from the mexican gulf... it's what's been killing the birds. http://www.floridaoilspilllaw.com/

  • harold
    January 18, 2011 - 20:01

    its not hard for Memorial University to tell us what these animals/mammals and birds died from. we deserve answers

  • Frank Blackwood
    January 18, 2011 - 08:32

    Years ago fishermen would say the seals drank oil from the foreign fishing fleets and came ashore to die. There must be something wrong as birds are also falling from the sky. We know what Mother Nature is doing on top of the earth's surface, one can only try and imagine what it has done beneath the oceans surface?

  • abreathoffreshair
    January 18, 2011 - 07:55

    It has to be pollution. Has the Gulf Oil Disaster been brought to our doorstep with the hurricanes and ocean currents? I'd like to know what's going on. Only three weeks into the year and we have heard of massive die off's of birds, fish, cows, crab and now seals, catfish, urchins, etc...

    • Victoria
      January 20, 2011 - 16:09

      READ YOUR BIBLE FOLKS!!!!!! It's all been foretold, wake up, WAKE UP!!!