Seals eating Early Fraser Chinook & Thompson Steelhead Smolts - Spey Pages
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post #1 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 09:34 AM Thread Starter
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Seals eating Early Fraser Chinook & Thompson Steelhead Smolts

It's time for real action by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans to address the problem of predation by seals on Chinook and Thompson/Chilcotin Steelhead Smolts! The Public Fishery Alliance is taking a stand in their most recent Blog post https://publicfisheryalliance.ca/blog/ and on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/publicfishe...6998395403641/
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post #2 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 03:04 PM
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The entire west coast is overrun with harbor seals and sea lions. I have seen seals 60 miles up river here on the Skykomish several times. It is well past the need to control their populations!
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post #3 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 04:44 PM
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I kinda like seeing them way up the Yentna here because that tells me where the fish are. Seals been eating salmon since the 2 species evolved together in a predator prey relationship I suspect that there are other factors related to the demise of stocks.

Maybe this; An Inconvenient Possibility

About Alaska but we are all in the same boat when it comes to numbers.
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Kill the hens you kill the river.
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post #4 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-23-2020, 05:29 PM
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The Dept. of Fisheries and Oceans notes that grey seal population was about 8,000 seals in 1960 in Atlantic Canada. Today they estimate that population at greater than 400,000 seals. Co-evolution is one thing; climatic and other changes are another. Cod stocks have bottomed out, and pity the poor Atlantic salmon having to deal with that population. Just sayin'....
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post #5 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 12:06 AM
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You have to manage the seals like anything else. Wildlife management is important. I understand the argument “if you just let everything be nature will work itself out.”
But the problem is that we don’t or can’t just let everything be. 8billion humans are on earth, there is no going back to the way it was .

Chinook and Salmon are ‘managed’ by way of commercial fishing. If you now don’t mange their Predator ....aka Seals, you’ll have a disturbance in the force! (Little Jedi humor.....can you tell I’ve been watching Star Wars??)

We have the same problem in Upper Peninsula Michigan with wolves. Many people have voted to not allow a season on wolves. Their argument: “no one needs to hunt and kill these beautiful animals.” For arguments sake, I don’t hunt much anymore, and I personally wouldn’t want to kill a wolf. But when you can hunt deer, rabbits, and turkey, and trap all the other small game, but you can’t manage the apex predator, you will surely have problems!

Simple answer, their should be a season on Seal!

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post #6 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 09:53 AM
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"Please join us Friday, May 1st for Ashley Sprague, Seafood Development Specialist with Perennia, as she talks about Nova Scotia's grey seal development initiative. "

This is a Miramichi Salmon Association zoom-type podcast thingy. If you're interested, google the association, and look for Kate's email address and send her a request to participate. Couldn't figure out how to put the email announcement here for you. Sorry 'bout that.

Gary
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post #7 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 11:22 AM
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Obviously, the predator/prey situation between seals, sea lions and fish worked just fine in the past. Unfortunately, dams make choke points that allow hunting seals to massacre migrating fish.
Plus, by affording seals total protection, their numbers have increased dramatically.
This particular predator/prey relationship is out of balance.

Be well,
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post #8 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 11:55 AM
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I agree that this is a situational issue. In some blessed locations I too would welcome the sight of seals, and otters, bears, wolves, etc. Unfortunately, in many places seals have grown to be an increasingly significant problem, while salmon and steelhead numbers are already being threatened due to so many other issues. I do have one point when it comes to managing seal populations: I do not think that it can be a substitute “solution” to distract or delay action on other fundamental threats to our salmon and steelhead populations. I mention this because, at times, I feel that seals have been a convenient scapegoat to lay blame on for the demise of certain fish runs.

Obviously they are an easier target problem to address than some other issues, but we cannot let them be the main focus of our efforts. So I would like to see some scientifically sound management, when and where appropriate; but I would especially like to see those implemented as part of a broader campaign to support habitat restoration/protection, etc. I honestly don’t see how we can have any real conversations about the future of these fish, and the complexities of their ecosystems, without acknowledging the impacts of climate change. Whether we like it or not, climate change is playing a significant role in pretty much every issue that challenges the health of our fisheries.
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post #9 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 01:18 PM
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Here is some data for those that dont think there is a problem.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-017-14984-8

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post #10 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 01:20 PM
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Just a snippet...

Harbor seals in the Salish Sea (i.e. Puget Sound, Strait of Georgia, and Strait of San Juan de Fuca) accounted for 86.4% of the total coast wide smolt consumption in 2015, due to large increases in the harbor seal abundance in this region between 1975 and 2015 (8,600 to 77,800), as well as a large diet fraction of Chinook salmon smolts relative to other regions (see supplemental material).

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post #11 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 03:26 PM
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Seals in BC

10 years ago there were seals in Terrace just waiting for a nice hooked steelhead or Chinook. This is a long way from the sea. Haven't fished there in a while but would guess it is only worse today.
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post #12 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 04:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Troutfly1 View Post
10 years ago there were seals in Terrace just waiting for a nice hooked steelhead or Chinook. This is a long way from the sea. Haven't fished there in a while but would guess it is only worse today.
The follow primary Sockeye. Pure volume of Sockeye overwhelms the rest of species.
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post #13 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 05:34 PM
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Tell that to this chinook I hooked on the Kitimat or Skeena a few years ago. Had this fish on for a little while when the water exploded with a seal and all I was left with was half of a head of a Chinook Had I seen the seal I would have tried to break the fish off. That is why I like fishing in Iceland, a seal gets into the river or mouth of the river and he is dealt with extreme prejudice (i.e. a rifle). The river owner looks at the salmon stock as their resource so they protect it. Just like a shepherd or rancher protects his flock. Also you have anglers who have paid lots of money to fish and a seal can ruin the fishing for a long period not to mention decimate a run of fish. The seals are still predators for the salmon in the ocean as I catch salmon with injuries and marks from seals but they are not tolerated in the rivers. Atlantic Salmon don’t return in numbers like pacific salmon. But I agree with previous comments there needs to be a balance with predators.
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post #14 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 08:01 PM
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Back in the late 80's Herschel(a sea lion) wiped out an entire run of steelhead from the Cedar river in Washington. That run is functionally extinct now, they tried to relocate him to San Francisco but was back at Ballard locks in 1 week.
Also the skykomish doesn't have a sockeye run and the seals will follow the steelhead, kings, pinks, coho and chum.

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post #15 of 29 (permalink) Old 04-24-2020, 08:18 PM
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Rifflehitch- I remember that sea lion as it made national news. If I remember correctly they reported that after awhile the sea lion was just killing and not even eating the fish.
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