Seals, Sea Lions Studied to Track Fish Health (King 5 News)
Scientists at the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife and King 5’s Alison Morrow were out looking for sea lion scat in order to better understand their diets, and whether they are consuming salmon. Work to determine whether harbor seals are consuming juvenile steelhead, a component of the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project, was also covered in this report. This coverage highlights work related to the Salish Sea Marine Survival Project. Harbor seals and sea lions are salmon and steelhead predators in the Salish Sea. Seals and sea lions have thrived in the Salish Sea as a result of the Marine Mammal Protection Act: they have few natural predators remaining. Staple food sources for these seals and sea lions, such as forage fish, pacific cod and hake, have also declined. With rising populations and declining food sources, researches are working to identify what sort of impact they are having on salmon and steelhead populations.
A big thank you to our partners at Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife, NOAA Fisheries, and the Nisqually Tribe for executing this research in South Puget Sound.