Hundreds of dead seals in Labrador

By CBC News

People on the north coast of Labrador say scores of dead seals have been washing ashore since early December. A conservation officer with the area’s Inuit government estimated late last week that hundreds of adult and young seals have died in the area between Hopedale and Makkovik this winter.

The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is testing the carcasses, but Nunatsiavut conservation officer Ian Winters said many people in the area believe DFO hasn’t acted quickly enough.

“I think they should have been up here earlier, if you’re asking me. A lot of people said the same thing. So, maybe it’s not on top of their agenda,” he said.

Usually at this time of year seals are on sea ice south of Hopedale, said Winters, but he said there is very little ice there now.

Last month, people in northern Labrador found the bodies of dead seal pups on the coast.

At the time, a federal seal researcher said the early birth of seal pups in Labrador may be an indication the area’s seal population has grown too large.

DFO researcher Garry Stenson said that seal population growth could lead to reproductive problems.

“What you expect in a population that is starting to regulate itself are things like lower reproductive rates and variable reproductive rates, but also higher pup mortality and also higher juvenile mortality,” he said Monday in St. John’s.

Stenson said the harp seal population of Atlantic Canada is now at between eight and nine million. A 2004 assessment of seal stocks estimated the harp seal population in the area at between 4.6 and 7.2 million.

Stenson said the DFO received five reports of seals giving birth on the coast of Labrador in December, although the nomadic sea mammals normally give birth in late February or early March.

He said the early births are happening on land rather than ice floes and it’s unlikely the newborn pups will survive.


At COTO Report, we’re keeping track of these mass animal kills at Corexit? Phosgene gas? What Else? Now 30 mass kills around the globe

4 responses to “Hundreds of dead seals in Labrador

  1. Pingback: Hundreds of dead seals in Labrador « Redeemed Hippies' Place

  2. I would sure like to make some witty remark here, but it is beyond words. This sounds more like a global climate change problem as far as no sea ice for the seals to calve on; however, the early births COULD be a result of reprodutive cycles disrupted by ED’s (endocrine disruptors) in the waters, a nasty mix that could have come from the Gulf. WHich I STILL think is responsible for the massive die-offs we’ve been seeing.

  3. I could not have said it better myself. I surely and sorely hope that WikiLeaks lets loose something on BP at some point. At any rate, as we did/do see with the Exxon Valdez disaster, we will be seeing the effects of this fuckup for a looooong time, probably for the rest of my lifetime, anyway.

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