[MARMAM] new paper on consumption of salmonids and monkfish by seals

Mark Jessopp mjessopp at gmail.com
Wed Dec 2 03:19:01 PST 2020


I’m pleased to share with you our recent paper available as early online view in Marine Mammal Science “Genetic evidence for seasonal consumption of monkfish (Lophiusspp.) and salmonids (Salmo spp.) by gray seals” by Mette Schiønning et al. https://doi.org/10.1111/mms.12768


Recoveries of gray seal (Halichoerus grypus) populations across their eastern Atlantic distribution have led to a steady increase in seal‐fishery interactions. Fishers have estimated depredation of salmonids (Salmo spp.) and monkfish (Lophius spp.) as high as 40% and 59% respectively in Ireland. However, empirical evidence for the consumption of these species has been extremely limited due to diagnostic hard part remains not being found in scats or stomach samples. We applied species‐specific primers and tested for the presence of monkfish and salmonids in gray seal diet genetically using quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) on scats. Monkfish occurred in 29.7% of sampled scats, while salmonids occurred in 12.7%. Seasonal and regional variability in occurrence were noted for both species, likely related to the migratory behavior of the prey species and proximity of seal haul‐outs to aquaculture sites. Traditional hard part analysis of scats, including scats that tested positive for monkfish and salmonid DNA, failed to find any evidence of either species. This study provides important empirical evidence for the consumption of these species in Ireland that can inform management.




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