Increase in Seal Population Results in Creation of New Consortium

Written by on November 6, 2012 in Marine Life, Policy & Ocean Law
Seals on the beaches around Chatham Harbor on Cape Cod, MA.

Seals on the beaches around Chatham Harbor on Cape Cod, MA. Photo credit: Christin Khan, NEFSC/NOAA.

The Northwest Atlantic Seal Research Consortium, composed of scientists, fishers, and resource managers, was recently created to help with concerns about increasing seal populations along the New England coast and their interaction with local fisheries.

The consortium is designed to cover all issues, including “how they live, where they go, what they eat, their health and illnesses, and interactions with the world—including us—around them,” explained Andrea Bogomolni, a Research Associate at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) and member of the consortium’s steering committee.

Collaborations between recreational and commercial fishers, scientists from universities, government agencies and just about anyone with an interest in seal issues, will allow for the development of specific research projects designed to better understand the interactions between seals and fisheries.

“From surveys we gave to participants in the last two meetings, communication seems to be high on the priority list.  And that is a challenge we are currently addressing through the formation of the consortium, the creation of our database and website, and the creation of a listserv for participants,” says Bogomolni.  Because of this, one of the top priorities of the consortium is to meet every two years.

Owen Nichols, another member of the consortium’s steering committee and director of the Marine Fisheries Research program at the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies said that “limited resources are a barrier to our efforts that we hope collaboration via a consortium will help to overcome.”

He explained that “by working together, resources from several smaller efforts can be pooled to address larger questions, and duplicative efforts can be avoided.”

Harbor seals and a few gray seals at Chatham Harbor on Cape Cod, MA.

Harbor seals and a few gray seals at Chatham Harbor on Cape Cod, MA. Photo credit: Meghann Murray, NOAA Fisheries.

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Copyright © 2012 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.

About the Author

About the Author: Emily Tripp is the Publisher and Editor of She holds marine science and biology degrees from the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and a Master of Advanced Studies degree in Marine Biodiversity and Conservation from Scripps Institution of Oceanography. When she's not writing about marine science, she's probably running around outside or playing with her dog. .


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