March 20, 2019

Canadian Atlantic village seeks help with seal invasion

11 January 2019, 07:55 | Devin Moran

Fisheries officers to deal with seals invading northern Newfoundland town

Canadian town suffers seal invasion

Two seals have been struck by vehicles, Fitzgerald says.

Some 40 stranded seals have wreaked havoc on a Canadian town, blocking the entryways of homes and businesses.

Seals were trapped at Roddickton-Bide Arm on the island of Newfoundland. "If they could find their way out, they would have found their way already".

Sheila Fitzgerald, the mayor of the Atlantic coastal town, also expressed concern for the well-being of the harp seals.

"They're pitiful to look at".

Fitzgerald says the group of about 40 seals are becoming hungry, exhausted and are crying out.

One local resident, Brendan Fitzpatrick, who usually tweets pictures about hunting and of scenes around the town, has begun calls on social media for Canada's federal Fisheries Department to intervene.

It's nearly like they get going in a direction and just keep going. They typically travel south from the Canadian Arctic and the shores of Greenland to spend winters off the coast of Newfoundland.

She says that for the time being, the animals have been surviving on fish they catch in the town's streams.

"They really don't know which way to go".

Opposition Leader Ches Crosbie says DFO must do something about the overabundance of seals in the region.

"They've been saying let nature take its course, but it's been nearly a week", she said.

Stenson said fisheries officers were there Wednesday to further examine the area around the community. DFO has returned individual seals to open water in the past.

"But generally, if they're just lying on a beach or on a slipway or that sort of thing, you just leave them on their own".

Stenson is confident the seals will eventually get their bearings, but until they do he said people should keep their distance - don't go in for any seal selfies. So enjoy the unusual site of a group of them this nearby, Stenson said, but do it from a distance.

The DFO is working on a plan for the seals, including determining exactly where they're located and how many are in the area. "So your best bet is to call your local fishery officer".

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