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Expert: kill more seals in Stockholm's waters

Geoff Mortimore · 16 Jan 2012, 15:19

Published: 16 Jan 2012 15:19 GMT+01:00

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Sverker Lovén, chairman of Fiskefrämjandet, a fish-promotion association, has carried out a detailed investigation into the disappearance of several breeds of fish in the waters outside the capital, most noticeably perch and pike.

He has come to the conclusion that if something is not done about the number of seals preying on the fish, there is a good chance they will eventually die out altogether.

”All indications suggest that seals and cormorants are the cause of the collapse of fish stocks. Perch and pike have completely disappeared from some parts of the archipelago,” said Loven to Metro newspaper.

Another fish under threat is the trout.

”The recapture of trout we have tagged, has decreased by around 90 percent in the past ten years and the stock of adult trout as a whole has decreased to the same extent,” he added.

Despite the fact that this could signal overfishing, the number of people fishing in the archipelago over the same period has declined sharply.

By killing more seals, a major problem could therefore be avoided in years to come, argues Lovén.

Story continues below…

Seals consume some 25-50 tonnes of fish on a daily basis, while cormorants devour some 15-18 tonnes, meaning that, at the current rate, it is impossible for fish stocks to replenish.

Geoff Mortimore (mortimore.geoff@gmail.com)

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Your comments about this article

15:59 January 16, 2012 by Dazzler
WOO hand out the clubs! Smash em, Bash em!
16:06 January 16, 2012 by DAVID T
I never liked his music so go ahead and club him
16:07 January 16, 2012 by SimonDMontfort
If fish stocks dwindled in the way suggested, then so too would numbers of seals and cormorants decline. The 'balance of nature' would kick in, with these creatures not being able to reproduce at the same rate - because of there being less food.

Hopefully, fish stocks would recover over time without the need for mass slaughter
16:09 January 16, 2012 by gabeltoon
It's a sensible thing to kull the seals and cormorants.This done around the waters of my town here in SCOTLAND.The seals destroy the salmon which is the main fishing around here.Once your fish are gone the seals will probably move on or die from starvation. Good luck.
17:25 January 16, 2012 by Svensksmith
Introduce some killer whales to Stockholm waters.
17:26 January 16, 2012 by Scepticion
that should be at least 3000 seals. Where are they, I've never seen one, nor a cormorant.
19:08 January 16, 2012 by uunbeliever
Uuum, maybe I'm just a dumb Canadian buuuut... wouldn't another way be to stop overfishing? How can this be the ONLY way? Maybe we should start killing people to protect the fish stocks...
19:37 January 16, 2012 by Borilla
Save the seals. Kill the "fisheries consultants." They get paid by the people who are overfishing the waters. What would you expect them to say?
19:43 January 16, 2012 by vancer
what a surprise to blame something else!!!

The fact humans are massively over fishing doesn't seem to be noted.

Rather than kill seals either kill humans who eat fish or stop over fishing.
20:30 January 16, 2012 by HenryPollard
Them redskins is takin all our good farmland and we can't grow any corn. Let's shoot em....

Throughout history, men like Sverker Lovén have had an extreme difficulty in realising that their interests are not necessarily conducive to benefiting the greater good.
21:10 January 16, 2012 by zooeden
Yeah, what double standards, everything animal related in sweden is kill it, too many wolves? kill em, many seals? kill em, Mink? kill em... But hey, ica says not to buy chinese shrimps cause they kill other species!!!
22:26 January 16, 2012 by J Jack
leading fisheries consultant? better listen to as marine biologist.
22:56 January 16, 2012 by MarkinBoston
So let me see if I understand this - seals killing and eating fish is just natures way, but people killing seals is unimaginable? Did you ask the pike and perch their opinion? Here in Massachusetts, USA, we've seen a huge increase in our seal population. The seals bob in the water, waiting for fish to be hooked by fishermen, and then they steal them off the line. It is destroying a recreational fishery that goes back over 100 years.
22:59 January 16, 2012 by Investor612
Amazing how so many people frame their views on their feelings. Rational resource management would regulate the numbers of predator and prey populations at sustainable numbers. That way there are populations of healthy predator species and healthy populations of prey species, including those that people hunt/fish for.

The alternative is the boom/bust cycles of often stressed and unhealthy populations. That some people either don't realize this, or find it preferable, is incomprehensible.
23:26 January 16, 2012 by Svensksmith
How does seal taste?
01:32 January 17, 2012 by Da Goat
Yes they should import some Inuit to eat the seals and balance nature up a bit


just package up the seals and send them off to be eaten!

just need to eat everything in natural balance, the cormarants can just be sent to KFC-ormarant! tastey fish burgers with hot sauce.
04:24 January 17, 2012 by Smiling Canuk
This is the same unconvincing nonsense argument that Newfoundland has been telling the world. It's absolute bull tweet. Fish stocks drop when over fished by humans. Don't blame the seals.
08:48 January 17, 2012 by karex
Glad to see so many sensible comments. If we are to save the fish by culling the predators, then we should start with the humans instead of the seals. Humans are stupid: they stick around and starve when the food source is gone, the seals move somewhere else. How about a study to determine exactly why the fish population is diminishing, and not just some "expert" opinion? Has anyone thought of testing the water for pollutants for instance? Has the avg water temperature changed and scared the fish off to somewhere else? Considering the crazy weather we have been having, it's not such a far-fetched idea. There could be other reasons as well, such as other predators under the water which no one has seen.
09:28 January 17, 2012 by skogsbo
karex, glad to see you are also taking a realistic look at it, you want a proper study carried out by another expert not this one, who is funding this? You?

As Swedens main Uni for teaching this kind of thing is only up the road at Uppsalla, I would imagine a spike in pollutants would be noticed. Crazy weather? it's called seasons, sea temps swing by at least 10degrees or more, just because it's been mild this winter (ie no ice breaker trying to keep the routes to Finland open) doesn't mean the fish are sweating it out. Deeper down, water temps will be more constant. Just because we think winter is late this year and their isn't much snow, look at the last 2 years.. wildlife just adapts to these swings, unlike people.

Unseen predators, like sea monsters, nessie of the fjords, or perhaps you mean the perch and pike which have also got low numbers. I think it's a simple correlation, seal and cormorant numbers boom, fish numbers dive. That's my study.

When people take fish they take those big enough to eat, seals and birds just eat the lot. Plus, many of the fish stocks that are low, are not 'normally' eaten by people or it is not advisable to eat too many per month, because of the potential risk from heavy metals in predator fish, pike etc..

Clearly this experts is bias, as he works for the fisheries, however, he clearly has a point. Seals have no real predators here, unless you want killer whales introduced?
09:49 January 17, 2012 by caradoc
It is sad to read especially after so much info published over the last few decades about how we (humans)are destroying the natural environment and the planet on which we live, that we are still able to blame the animals who hunt to survive and feed their young.

We are the oneswho have overfished the oceans over the last 50 years,

We are the ones who pollute and destroy the land and sea on which we rely

We are the ones who have poisoned the planet and continue regardless of the consequences to wreck the planet on which we live.

We are the ones to blame, not the seals or any other non humanoid animal .
10:05 January 17, 2012 by skogsbo

Overfished - this hardly the case here, as many species are not edible, although the fisheries main motive will be trout etc.

Pollute and destroy - not the case here, although the baltic is far from the cleanest, it certainly not impacting the seal population!

Poisoned - wrong case again

Caradoc, I presume you are out and out vegan and your computer is made from wood. There are no electronic components in your house using rare earth metals, laptop, mobile, tv, ps1/2/3 etc.. ?

A large percentage of the planet don't have enough to eat, others have too much, one or more nations have a massive number of people clinically obese who are clearly eating more than they need.

It is question of balance in terms of what gets taken from the planet, but either way culling seals or no different to culling other animals that are out of balance, provided some justifable gain is made. If the seals completely eat out all the stock, then what, they move on and eat out somewhere else?
12:15 January 17, 2012 by si
skogsbo - relax about the killer seals already - all the posters are indicating is that the seals are probably only a part of the problem, other causes are likely to have been omitted from the investigation which is typical of sensational / selfpromoting research.
12:53 January 17, 2012 by Marc the Texan
This argument just seems off to me. Presumably if there were a sharp decrease in the fish population then there would be a commensurate decrease in the seal population. I think a large seal population is the evidence for the size of the seal population.

Seems like a fisherman's argument aimed at getting more crowns to the bottom line. If everyone wants fish, then more fish farms are needed. The fishing industry is what is destroying fisheries, not seals.
09:31 January 18, 2012 by karex
@si Precisely my point. A study that doesn't investigate all possible causes, or perhaps does but only publishes one is not a self-respecting study but propaganda. Wasted money in my opion (well perhaps cheap marketing for some if you care to look at it from that angle).

@skogsbo I don't fund studies, much less perform them. I normally prefer not to waste my time reading trash. However when this trash promotes destruction, then I become interested. Particularly if it promotes the taking of life.
09:39 January 18, 2012 by caradoc

your presumption regarding my diet is half correct , i do not eat meat but i do eat fish. I do own a computer but no play station . But i try to take care of how i dispose of either dangerous metals or materials and i do not own a car but always try to use public transport or my bike.

Of course many species of fish are not edible and my point was a general one , not aimed specifically at the Baltic. You only have to look at the fish available in the shops to see how far we transport some species in order to satisfy our greed for cheap food.

And yes , more than half of the earths human population do not get enough to eat and many do not have access to clean water. We in the West waste enormous amounts of everything and we cause so much pollution .

i suggest that since balance is what is important to you perhaps it is humans that need culling and not the seals or other animals that did not push the industrial age or the nuclear age or any other age that is going to ultimately destroy the planet on which we live.
06:09 January 19, 2012 by biddi
I would say the collapse of fish stocks is due to greedy over-fishing by so-called human beings. Too many people on this Earth.

Strict birth control/spey and neuter/ programs are what is needed

world-wide. Caradoc : I'm with you.
10:35 January 19, 2012 by robban70226
Maybe some of people can adopt them as pets and take them home?, or maybe they can be eaten?
11:02 January 19, 2012 by John.Smith
It will never happen. The fish population will reduce to such an extent whereby the seals will have no motivation to hang around there. They will move off further up the coast. The fish will repopulate over time.
14:41 January 19, 2012 by suaritma
Thanks for sharing, please keep an update about this info. love to read it more. i like this site too much.
23:40 January 29, 2012 by Syd H,
Sverker Lovén, will have to come up with a far better excuse for wanting to see the mass slaughter of Seals and Cormorants.

The seals and cormorants have been eating the fish for a good few thousand years without any problem.

It is only since humans started fishing on an unsustainable industrial scale, during the late 19th & 20th Centuries, without giving any thought to conserving the fish breeding stocks and breeding areas, that fish stocks have seriously declined.

Perhaps a cull of the fishermen around the Stockholm archipelago and elsewhere would be a more practical solution to the problem.
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