Fisheries research to assess impacts of grey seal

Staff ~ The Telegram
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The impacts of the provincial grey seal population on the quality and abundance of Atlantic cod in Newfoundland and Labrador will be assessed through a project by the Fish, Food and Allied Workers' (FFAW) union.
In a news release, the provincial government said it is providing $74,258 through its Fisheries Development Fund toward this initiative, which has a total project cost of $297,258.
Other project partners are the Institute of Biodiversity, Ecosystem Science and Sustainability, Memorial University and the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.
According to the release, there is a need for additional research related to grey seal impacts on cod stocks on the south and west coasts of the province. It is believed that these areas are dominated by grey seals, with numbers that have been rapidly increasing in recent years.
Ever since the Atlantic cod fishery was placed under moratorium in 1992, there has been discussion of the role of increased seal populations in the decline of and lack of recovery of cod stocks. Industry stakeholders strongly believe that cod stocks will not recover if the level of consumption by harp and grey seals continues unchecked. The federal government maintains that cod recovery has been minimal and cod quotas remain low, despite many conservation measures taken by harvesters.
"The natural mortality for northern gulf cod stocks has doubled in the last two years, and we see a very clear association between those numbers and the explosion of the grey seal population," said David Decker, Secretary-Treasurer of the FFAW.
"This project will allow us to more accurately measure the effect of grey seals in that region and in turn help to better manage and sustain the cod resource."
This project will involve targeting samples of grey seals and will quantify information pertaining to distribution, diet and parasites carried by the mammals. It will also involve an analysis of the quality of cod fish of various sizes. The fish will be taken from different regions, at different times of the year.

Organizations: Allied Workers, Fisheries Development Fund, Institute of Biodiversity Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Department of Fisheries and Oceans

Geographic location: Atlantic, Newfoundland and Labrador

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  • EmptyNets
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    You can throw as much money as you want at this research, but I think that it's a waste. Grey seal, green seal, pink-with-purple-polkadots seal: I don't think the colour or species really matter. They ALL gorge themselves on Atlantic Codfish!!

  • Keith
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    Until someone can figure out how to make a cod look cuter than a seal, it probably won't make a bit of difference how much data anyone has: any attempt to raise the quota to do a proper cull will have every animal rights activist foaming at the mouth (and Greenpeace et al drooling over the influx of cash)...

  • EmptyNets
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    You can throw as much money as you want at this research, but I think that it's a waste. Grey seal, green seal, pink-with-purple-polkadots seal: I don't think the colour or species really matter. They ALL gorge themselves on Atlantic Codfish!!

  • Keith
    July 01, 2010 - 19:59

    Until someone can figure out how to make a cod look cuter than a seal, it probably won't make a bit of difference how much data anyone has: any attempt to raise the quota to do a proper cull will have every animal rights activist foaming at the mouth (and Greenpeace et al drooling over the influx of cash)...