Living with Seals
The following information addresses some misconceptions that can arise with our understanding of the relationship between seals and the fishing industry. Seal populations continue to be slow to recover from a long history of sealing. Consequently, all species of seal in Tasmanian waters are protected. For full details of the species of seal found in Tasmanian waters, see our web pages on seals.
Observation of seals at different sites often leads to the mistaken idea that numbers are growing fast - in fact, the population recovery of Australian fur seals continues to be slow.
Seals have a key place in the marine ecosystem, a natural part of a complex and productive ocean. Some fishermen complain about seals, accusing them of taking all their fish. Occasionally fishermen suggest that seals should be culled and that this will increase fish stocks and there will then be more available for human consumption. However, closer examination of seal-fishery interactions at the ecosystem level suggests that removing or culling seals may in fact be detrimental to fish stocks rather than beneficial. Remove a top predator and the whole system runs the risk of collapse, just like removing a key player from a sports team. Each component of the ecosystem (or each player in the team) has an important role to play. So killing seals may not ensure a greater catch of targeted fish stocks!
We can find a way to share the sea with seals and their predators whilst accepting and appreciating their role.
The foodweb of the seal and the sea.
Notesheet - Seals
Tasmania Online | Service Tasmania
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