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Gray seals consume as much fish as the fishing industry catches
Date:4/2/2012

omposition in the seals' blubber reflects the composition of fatty acids in the fish species that they eat, and can give an idea of the dietary patterns of the seals over a long period.

It became clear that the diet of grey seals differs between the northern and the southern Baltic. Herring was the most common food eaten by all seals, followed by common whitefish in the Gulf of Bothnia and sprat in the main body of the Baltic Sea. The diet of young seals differed from that of old seals, and the feeding habits of males differed from that of females.

"We have now developed useful methods and created a good starting point for further studies into the dietary habits of seals. We can also investigate the significance they have as fish-eating predators at the top of the marine ecosystem. By combining the methods that I have used with other techniques, it will be possible to increase our knowledge further. More closely focussed investigations in particularly interesting regions will also be needed, both for grey seals and ringed seals in the Baltic Sea and for common seals in the Kattegat and Skagerrak area", says Karl Lundstrm.

This is the first comprehensive investigation into the diet of the grey seal in the Baltic Sea since the 1970s.


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Contact: Karl Lundstrm
karl.lundstrom@slu.se
46-104-784-138
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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