Thin The Seal Population Site ?
Stories & Forums
Great White Shark eating a seal. What do you think about this picture?
Story #1 - A friend in Orleans related the following story to me. He was fishing the upper part of Pleasant Bay at Barley Neck from shore. I think it was June or July 2008. There was not much going on, but he finally hooked a small bluefish. After a short battle he pulled the small fish up onto the bank. Much to his surprise a seal estimated at about 400 lbs came right out of the water up onto the bank chasing the fish. He missed the blue, but he did manage to scare the s--t out of my friend before sliding back into the water. My friend (I sound like John McCain) released the blue, packed up his gear, and went home. So much for a nice peaceful afternoon fishing from the shore...... By Woo.
I'm defintiely not in favor of killing them or anything like that and that's never going to happen because of the sea mammal laws. One of the best ideas I have heard is to have wildlife people or someone be allowed to walk by them and hopefully chase them off sections of beach. This is sort of akin to how they use dogs to chase geese off of golf courses and football fields. They'll obviously come right back but hopefully after a few times they'll stop coming back. It may not work but it's worth a try and one of the the only feasible ways to combat the problem. (CaptMike - Mike Behot - Striped-bass.com forum. 11/6/08)
I work in an environmental field and am used to dealing with population control issues so although I enjoy watching seals (or any wildlife for that matter) I understand that there is a point where for both the animals and humans good there is a point where they need to be controlled. My personal feeling (don't deal with marine mammals so I have no idea what the carrying capacity is or should be) is that on Cape Cod in particular and probably also Martha's Vineyard that number has been exceeded.
I have fished NE for stripers since the '70"s and have gone from never seeing them to now almost always seeing at least one/trip boat or shore. In Maine I first started noticing an increase in numbers about 15 years ago and then on MV about 10 years ago. In ME they haven't seem to be a problem, seem to stick to off shore islands (uninhabited by humans) although these same islands look like great striper spots I have never caught one around one with seals. The ME mainland beaches and shore have been good for stripers during the summer months although this one was noticeable slower and I did start to notice a few seals coming into the Scarborough River where I usually fish so maybe that is why.
I have 2 friends who used to go to the cape every summer and both didn't last year due to the seals. 2 years ago one of them went during the week he always did and caught nothing and didn't even see a striper caught till the second to last day and then the fish he saw caught got hit by a seal and the angler ended up with 1/2 a striper. Judging from lack of reports in The Fisherman this was fairly typical. I just fish the canal in the late fall and of the 3 trips I made I did see a seal even there on one of them.
I fish the Vineyard alot in the fall and the seal population is exploding out there. First they were just off Chappy, then South Beach now I am even seeing them on the north shore. # years ago I actually hooked one of the huge 1000 #'s. I had seen it swimming around off and on for days. Well a school of small blues came through and I caught one and almost immediately that seal took it and almost stripped my line. Fortunately I tightened up the drag and it finally broke off the 30# braid.
This year on South beach you would see multiple seals seals everyday and almost no strippers were caught except down at the new opening and that was hit or miss. Part of the problem could be lack of bait but what part do the seals play in that? There is a seal now that goes in Edgartown harbor and is feed at the fillet dock during the MV striped bass and blue derby. Great tourist draw but shows how brazen and hungrier? they are. (This is a very busy port with a fairly narrow entrance and exit channel with thousands of boats entering daily. Also the dock this seal comes to is right down town and pretty far off the main channel.
I hope the wildlife people are at least watching there numbers but unless they start causing property damage like the sea lions are doing in California I bet nothing will be done.
By Steven Wood in email to Woo 12/14/08