Grey seal predation on forage fish in the Baltic Sea

Publication: ResearchConference abstract for conference – Annual report year: 2011

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The mean annual growth rate of grey seal stock in the Baltic has been on average 7.5% annually during the last decade. In 2010, a total of approximately 23 100 grey seals were counted. The increase in stock size was highest in the northern areas and the predation pressure of grey seals on clupeoids has increased accordingly. The diet of grey seal in the Baltic consists of ca. 20 fish species. The most abundant prey items in the Baltic proper are Baltic herring, sprat, and cod, and in the Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay Baltic herring, Coregonus sp., Baltic salmon, and sea trout. An adult seal consumes on average round 4.5 kg fish per day, of which 55% are clupeoids in the Baltic Main basin and 70% in the Bothnian Sea and Bothnian Bay. According to acoustic estimates, predator– prey distribution patterns, migration patterns, and multispecies analysis (SMS), the predation effect of grey seals on Baltic herring and sprat stocks is still at a very low level. Hence, with present grey seal stock sizes, the impact of seal predation can be ignored in whole Baltic‐scale herring and sprat stock management considerations. Locally, however, grey seal–fishery interactions play an important role and should be taken into account in future spatial planning and ecosystem management
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2011
StatePublished - 2011
EventICES Council Meeting 2011 - Gdansk, Poland


ConferenceICES Council Meeting 2011
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ID: 123050066