Early Sunday morning a friend of mine was driving along the Dyke Road when he noticed a boil of about six to eight seals tearing into summer run chinook salmon that were in deeper water, waiting to go up the river. While driving home in the evening at high tide, he noticed another boil of a similar number of seals in the same section of the estuary again feasting on chinook salmon.
I don’t know whether the river level is too low for these salmon to go up the river, or whether they were waiting for the fullness of the tide to advance.
However, I do wonder why seals enjoy such a protective status. Brigitte Bardot’s publicity campaign against the harvest of fur seal pups on the East Coast? One thing is certain: the seal has reached “untouchable” status. We allow the culling of deer and Canada geese in some of our communities and waters, but don’t touch them seals.
Two years ago it was reported that seals took an estimated one-third of the restored chinook run of 7,000 salmon holding for higher water at the mouth of the Cowichan River.
Recently waters around the lighthouse and at the south end of Cape Mudge were closed to protect the endangered Cowichan River fish which rear in those water.
Why? So the seals can eat them when they reach the mouth of the river.
Perhaps, we need more “rocket scientists” at the decision-level in DFO to accept the fact that it doesn’t make sense to enhance salmon with public dollars at one end of the scale to feed seals at the other end of the scale.
Maybe we should just raise the white flag of surrender.
One week the newspapers report that DFO requests that people do not fish in the Puntledge River in order to protect the small summer chinook. The next thing my friend witnesses this senseless slaughter of the resource at the mouth of the river.
I guess my friend and I just don’t possess the mental capability to understand this nonsense. Perhaps I need counselling from the DFO and other protectors of the seals to understand my errant thinking.