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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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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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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'....
Gary
 

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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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"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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Bob Rodgers
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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,
Bob
 

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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.
JB
 

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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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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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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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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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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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You are correct John, it was just a game for him after a while. I think he knew he was upsetting us so he just started messing with us. A local radio show mad a killer whale model to try and scare the sea lions away, witch worked for a second before they realized it was fake.
 

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Are Killer whales the natural alpha predator for seals and sea lions? There must have been a balance once or the fish would have all been eaten thousands of years ago. I,m not disputing that there are more seals than there used to be,just wonder what is causing them to be doing so well now?Whales and fish are both doing poorly at present according to the numbers counted, you would expect the predator of the seals to be doing very well.
Daryl
 

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Are Killer whales the natural alpha predator for seals and sea lions? There must have been a balance once or the fish would have all been eaten thousands of years ago. I,m not disputing that there are more seals than there used to be,just wonder what is causing them to be doing so well now?Whales and fish are both doing poorly at present according to the numbers counted, you would expect the predator of the seals to be doing very well.
Daryl
I think resident whales will usually focus on either fish or seals, and most of the residents seem to favour fish... so unfortunately they actually worsen the situation.
 

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Seal and sea lion numbers are pretty well back to pre colonization numbers while pacific salmon numbers are less than 1% of what they used to be. With a in balance like that and then factor in the mold on the cheese (humans) I don’t think salmon and steelhead stand a chance! The gold river here on Vancouver Island once one of the best winter steelhead fishery in southern B.C. closed for winter steelhead three years ago because of drastically low numbers. 2 fish counted on the last year it was open. This year they did two swim counts and counted zero fish! I fear the gold river fish are lost forever. Truly a hart break for all anglers on Vancouver island. There were meetings and talks with biologist and DFO. If there’s one thing that I think could help make a difference is the cull of seals around rivers. When A fish stock is so low that every fish counts it takes nothing for a seal or two to finish off what’s left of a run. This could have helped save the gold river steelhead or at lest buy them some more time. Better at act now than before it’s to late!
 

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Discussion Starter #20 (Edited)
Are Killer whales the natural alpha predator for seals and sea lions? There must have been a balance once or the fish would have all been eaten thousands of years ago. I,m not disputing that there are more seals than there used to be,just wonder what is causing them to be doing so well now?Whales and fish are both doing poorly at present according to the numbers counted, you would expect the predator of the seals to be doing very well.
Daryl
Resident Killer Whales eat salmon and Transient Orcas eat marine mammals such as seals and sea lions, but also porpoise and dolphins. The Transient Killer Whale population is doing very well, while the Sothern Resident Killer Whales are in decline. Action around addressing declining salmon populations from pinniped predation could positively benefit Southern Resident Killer Whales if Chinook(their preferred prey) salmon numbers increased.
 
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