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bob_G

Seal observation

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I know seals can be a PIA, and on occassion, eat our favorite fish. But I've always felt this has been overstated.

 

Can anyone answer this:

 

If seals have an insatiable appetite for stripers, and are partially blamed for their decline, how come the only time we seen significant numbers of seals in the canal are during the winter month (Dec-April), long after the bass have departed, and prior to their return in the spring? :huh:

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I know seals can be a PIA, and on occassion, eat our favorite fish. But I've always felt this has been overstated.

Can anyone answer this:

If seals have an insatiable appetite for stripers, and are partially blamed for their decline, how come the only time we seen significant numbers of seals in the canal are during the winter month (Dec-April), long after the bass have departed, and prior to their return in the spring? :huh:

 

I can agree with that statement and I would also like to expand on it; are seals capaple of capturing larger stripers that are free swimming (not hooked)? can a seas actually bite off a piece of flesh, chew it and swallow it? and lastly for now, historically, what is the normal or seasonal population of seals on the Cape?

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I know seals can be a PIA, and on occassion, eat our favorite fish. But I've always felt this has been overstated.

Can anyone answer this:

If seals have an insatiable appetite for stripers, and are partially blamed for their decline, how come the only time we seen significant numbers of seals in the canal are during the winter month (Dec-April), long after the bass have departed, and prior to their return in the spring? :huh:

 

 

I suspect the seals stick close to their breeding sites during the warm months, and then go exploring once the pups are on their own.

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What's in the canal this time of year that they would be eating? cod? herring?

 

That's my point. There just about nuthin' in the canal at the moment. Yet, this week alone, I'll bet I've seen 15 seals, and some big ones at that.

But in the summer, when we have a lot of bass, blues, and all sorts of bait, you hardly ever see one. :huh: Given their supposed affinity for bass, you'd think it would be the other way around?

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Not sure what it is either but the same thing happens at the mouth of Bass River at the same time of year. There have been 4 lazing around the mouth for the last 2 weeks. They seem to drift on top on the incoming tide for a few hundred yards and then go down and reappear at the mouth and do it over and over. Could it have something with water temps or the availability of food in the canal and rivers?

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when i was in high school we ran the service road for training during hockey season. on every occasion i would see at least 4-5 seals in the 45 minutes or so we would be out there. this is 15 years ago.

 

bob, have you seen the seal colony off chatham or nantucket? they are there and they are eating. what are they eating? well maybe it's flounder and other flatfish/bottom dwellers. it is a fact that they steal hooked fish from fisherman. there are over 10,000 seals living in the chatham area alone. it's my guess that the seals in the canal are not the same ones from the southside.

 

however, each winter grey seals from the north migrate south to the buzzards bay area. when i was shellfishing i used to see them daily, especially off of scraggy neck and the aptly named, "seal rocks". these seals are huge. they must eat, but who knows what. are our waters completely devoid of fish during the winter months? you never see anyone fishing, but that doesn't mean there aren't any fish out there.

 

someone more in the know then myself must have the answers to these questions...

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Harbour and grey seals will eat fish and shellfish.......They can actually crack a whelk shell with there back teeth so a big quahog or seal clam is no problem.....There is plenty for them to eat in the winter....Skates, tomcod, window pain flounder, green crabs, rock crabs, jonah crabs, spider crabs, lobsters, conchs and I have even seen them poking around spring holes looking for toad fish, eels and blue crabs. The adults of both species need to eat about 10 pounds of food a day to survive. Gray seals can dive to over 200 feet in their hunt for food and I have seen so called "harbour" seals nosing around on stellwagen bank. Not a seal friendly place one would think.

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I remember a number of years ago in the beginning when there were only about 20 seals on Nauset and the beach was absolutely littered with the racks of schoolies. I never saw large numbers of bass again.

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I know seals can be a PIA, and on occassion, eat our favorite fish. But I've always felt this has been overstated.

Can anyone answer this:

If seals have an insatiable appetite for stripers, and are partially blamed for their decline, how come the only time we seen significant numbers of seals in the canal are during the winter month (Dec-April), long after the bass have departed, and prior to their return in the spring? :huh:

 

During the warmer months, there are 'easier' pickings then the Canal. Once the Migratory Fish head out, the Seals have to travel farther in search of Food.

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Harbour and grey seals will eat fish and shellfish.......They can actually crack a whelk shell with there back teeth so a big quahog or seal clam is no problem.....There is plenty for them to eat in the winter....Skates, tomcod, window pain flounder, green crabs, rock crabs, jonah crabs, spider crabs, lobsters, conchs and I have even seen them poking around spring holes looking for toad fish, eels and blue crabs. The adults of both species need to eat about 10 pounds of food a day to survive. Gray seals can dive to over 200 feet in their hunt for food and I have seen so called "harbour" seals nosing around on stellwagen bank. Not a seal friendly place one would think.

 

:th: good info right here!

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OK, here's my 2 cents......I think the question about seals eating or driving off stripers needs to be explored a bit. Are we talking about the little harbor seals or the big grey seals? The only seals I've seen in the Canal are the harbor seals, and I can't imagine they are eating many stripers.

 

I stopped fishing the outer beaches as often because the big grey seals are a problem there. I've been stripped of fish by them several times and have had days and nights when there wasn't a bass to be had for miles there, but there were plenty of seals. I don't think the grey seals swim down a healthy bass and eat it so much as they drive off any available forage for the bass, so the bass go elsewhere. Any thoughts?

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