…for making our study a success!
In 2012-2013, with the help of many fishermen associations along eastern Canada, several key fishermen advisors, social scientists and biologists, we surveyed 195 active and retired fishermen regarding their interactions with and observations of grey seals. Upon completing our analyses, we determined:
1) There are four interactions (other than grey seal predation) that impact fishermen financially: stealing “fish off the line,” bait raiding, gear damage and seal worm infestation of catch.
2) Bait raiding, gear damage and seal worm infestation severely impact the southern Gulf and the Scotian Shelf.
3) These interactions were directly related to reported grey seal sightings in respective Lobster Fishing Areas.
4) When we plotted these interactions on a map of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, they were consistent with grey seal, groundfish, and fishing fleet behaviors.
5) Lobster Fishing Area 24 (northern PEI) is the hardest hit by all three interactions types (see map). LFA 24 also overlaps a known summer groundfish feeding area.
6) Unless seal worm infestation declines, the cost of labour for food processors will continue to climb. We predict these higher costs will necessarily be passed to fishermen to maintain financial viability.
This map shows how Lobster Fishing Areas are related to one another in regards to bait raiding, gear damage, parasite infestation and the presence of grey seals. Similar shades of blue match regions that are alike. LFA 24 did not group with any other region due to overwhelming reports of gear damage, bait raiding, seal worm infestation and grey seal sightings.
1) We would like to assign dollar values to these interactions to evaluate the realized cost of grey seal interactions with fisheries.
2) We have a manuscript in draft to document these findings in the peer reviewed literature.
Thank you to all the fishermen who completed this survey, FA reps that helped us successfully recruit and distribute to fishermen and numerous individuals that helped create the final questionnaire through a collaborative consultation process. Your participation was crucial!
If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact the researcher.