Carl J. Walters, Professor Emeritus at UBC; from the Institute for the Oceans and Fisheries, UBC.
· Seals and sea lions are far more abundant today than they have been for the last several millennia, when First Nations harvesting kept them down
· They are consuming more fish than all the commercial fisheries (and aquaculture) combined
· In the Georgia Strait, seals have had particularly severe impacts on early marine survival rates of chinook and coho salmon, reducing abundances of larger fish by 80%
· We are not certain that seal reductions in the Georgia Strait would mean more fish available, because other stress factors like disease might be making the juvenile salmon more venerable and could kill them even if seals were not
· It would be a major management experiment to reduce seal numbers to see if survival rates do improve, but the benefits of this experiment far outweigh possible costs
· DFO is very unlikely to face the problem, so we must hope for First Nations harvesting to actually do the grand experiment
Please note that the webinar will be recorded and made available on YouTube as well as with all registrants.