Considerable effort goes into rehabilitating seal pups

The Vancouver Courier interviewed Ben Nelson, a PhD candidate at UBC’s Marine Mammal Research Unit, for a story on how seal pup rehabilitation could impact salmon populations.

Nelson found that harbour seals could impede the recovery of juvenile chinook and coho salmon in the Strait of Georgia. Chinook and coho survival rates dropped after the harbour seal population spiked in the 1970s.

“One could make the argument based on what we’ve found about seal diets recently — the fact that they do eat significant numbers of juvenile salmon — that those rehab efforts may be at odds with salmon conservation,” Nelson said.