More seal research needed, says Fisheries Minister

She said Thursday at a press conference in corner creekNewfoundland and Labrador, that his government will host a seal summit this fall in Saint John.

She was reacting to the report recently released by the Atlantic Seal Science Task Force, which was commissioned by the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) in 2020.

The report indicates that the high number of gray seals and are at or near historic levels and has a serious impact on Atlantic Canada’s ocean ecosystem.

MPO“,”text”:”L’étendue de ces répercussions ne peut être déterminée avec l’information limitée détenue par le Secteur des sciences du MPO”}}”>The extent of these impacts cannot be determined with the limited information held by the Science Sector. DFOis written in the report.

The report says the gray seal population in Atlantic Canada has grown from around 15,000 in the 1960s to 424,300 animals in 2016, representing the highest concentration of gray seals in the world.

The region’s harp seal population has grown from about 2 million animals in the 1970s to about 7.6 million in 2019, and it is the largest population of harp seals in the Northwest Atlantic as of data record.

Fish stocks are dwindling

According to the report, bottom fish stocks in Atlantic Canada are near or near record lows and are recovering very little due to very high levels of unexplained natural mortality that have been attributed to seals in some areas but not others.

commercial fish fishing has never been more limited, due to low livestock productivity resulting, in part, from high rates of unexplained natural mortalitywe add.

A gray seal (files)

Photo: The Canadian Press/Andrew Vaughan

Glenn Blackwoodco-chair of the report, said the death rate of many fish stocks is high and that the region’s fishing industry and the Department of Fisheries need to know the role of seals in the ocean ecosystem.

More work needs to be done on the diet of harp seals and gray sealssaid Mr. black wood at a press conference. And also about distribution patterns, and we need to understand the relationship between seals and fish stocks.

MPO pour concevoir, collecter les échantillons et résoudre ce problème”,”text”:”Nous pensons que l’industrie est prête à intervenir et à travailler avec les scientifiques du MPO pour concevoir, collecter les échantillons et résoudre ce problème”}}”>We believe the industry is ready to step in and work with scientists at DFO design, collect samples and solve this problemhe declared.

Canadian Minister of Fisheries, Oceans and Coast Guard of Canada Joyce Murray, March 23, 2022

Photo: The Canadian Press

Speaking outside a seafood processing plant, the minister Joyce Murray sparked applause when she said she knows it seals eat fish.

That’s why we need to better understand the impact they have on our fish stocks.she said. The work team delivered a report that starts the conversation on how we can move forward to address the concerns we hear from fishermen about this simple fact.

The minister said that, as a first step, her department will host a seal summit this fall. This will expand engagement with Atlantic seals and bring together stakeholders to discuss science, market development and management approaches.she said.

Joyce Murray indicated that his department is committed to maintaining existing markets for Canadian seal products and supporting the development of new potential markets.

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