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Letter: Exploding seal population must be addressed


They say a picture is worth a thousand words here are just a few pictures taken by some people who live near or are always on the ocean every day that suitable. They, like me, can read the ocean. Right now the ocean is crying out for help from the packs of seals that have invaded ever crook and cranny on the shores. They are starving to death and eating everything in their path, these Harp seals should be in the artic by now but instead they are surrounding large shoals of herring and caplin, the food for cod and food for all things in the ocean, and keeping them in shoal water until everyone of them are eaten.

How long is the Department of Fisheries and Oceans going to let this go on without addressing this problem? We’ve been in a cod moratorium for 26 years, 26 years when one cod lays one million eggs or more and now DFO science are telling us that the biomass of cod is decreasing again. Something is wrong with this, with only a small fraction of cod taken out of the system by adjacent harvesters and the food fishery.

Related column:

Bob Wakeham: Let’s not forget seals in the cod equation

It’s time to manage the predators of our fish stocks rather than keep regulating our fish harvesters out of existence.

To have a good crop for human consumption farmers have to kill beautiful weeds like the dandelion to have a good harvest.

Same with the seal — it’s a weed and has to be controlled.

If the seal problem is not addressed, we will be in a cod moratorium for another 26 years or more.

The first picture is why I choose to live where I live, because of its beauty, and why I write letters like this, to always have someone making a living from the sea like they have done for centuries.

The next picture shows a seal’s stomach full of caplin. Imagine millions of seals eating fish like this every day. How many tonnes do they eat in a year? No DFO scientist should wonder what’s happing to our fish resource.

The next picture is of harp seals surrounding herring lying on their backs looking towards the bottom for escaping fish.

The third picture is dozens of female crabs taken out of the stomach of one seal.

The fourth picture is of caplin and herring pushed near the shore and sometimes up on the shore by seals.

It’s time for action on the exploding seal herds if you want a fishery, time to put a bounty on seals of $50 a seal. Proof of a kill, cut the tail off the seal and give it to DFO scientist for study. What is not used as meat or pelt send to the bottom to feed the fish and crab.

Two days ago I was on the water hauling lobster traps when a large salmon jumped out of the water about a hundred feet from by boat, behind it was a large seal chasing it. It caught it but couldn’t hold it. The seal lost it. I went over to where the salmon and seal were and watched this beautiful Atlantic salmon sinking to the bottom with the blood coming out of it.

It is so easy to manage people in the fishery but it takes fortitude to manage seals the very thing that’s impeding the cod and salmon fisheries in our beautiful province of Newfoundland and Labrador.

John Gillett

Inshore fisherman, Twillingate

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