Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Fur Seals and Krill

Fur seals travel a really long way for food, researchers have found. Pregnant fur seals were found to travel 1300 kilometers from the Southern Indian Ocean to the Southern Ocean, even during the Antarctic winter. Researchers suggest that the seals make the journey because they cannot tolerate the cold temperatures in the Southern Ocean for long periods of, but the abundance of krill makes the journey worthwhile.

The article notes that the research indicated that fur seals were highly dependent on krill, since they undertake such arduous journeys just to reach krill swarms. What could that mean for the fur seals who live near the Aker Biomarine krill fishery in the South Atlantic? The Marine Stewardship Council is preparing to certify this fishery as sustainable, but their public report indicates that fur seals can easily switch to other prey when krill aren't available. Do they know for sure? If researchers are just realizing that some fur seals will travel a long way for krill, can we really say that we understand the extent of seal dependence on krill?

1 comment:

Roxy said...

I hate the way we make such assumptions about wildlife and how they can cope even through man's invasion and disruption to their natural practices.

Scientific research has an answer for everything that the commercial world wants to hear.