fiona xmas.png
spreads (8).gif

Freeloader Or Playmate?

Dolphins hunting fish at North Surf Beach, Narooma, recently were joined by an inquisitive fur seal.

Rosy from Narooma, who took this photo, could not tell whether the seal was interested in the mammals or the fish.

Fur seals are certainly playful and curious as anyone who has dived or snorkelled with them at Montague Island can testify. However, they also don’t miss an opportunity for an easier feed.

In trials to make trawling exclusion and escape devices safer for fur seals and dolphins, the seals were shown to readily enter the nets to feed on the fish trapped there, often with fatal results for the seals. This was even more common in winter when presumably fish were harder to find.

Now that the government has removed marine sanctuaries at Montague Island and the seals’ fish food will become scarcer it’s hoped that the fur seals will not be more likely to be accidentally hooked or drowned in traps as they chase an easy meal. All Australian marine mammals are protected but this will not prevent them getting in the way of spearfishers aiming for a fish nor will it stop them getting entangled in discarded fishing gear.


Photo by Rosy Williams

COMMENTS : Due to the risks associated with comments from unidentified contributors that expose The Beagle to possible legal actions under the NSW Defamation Act 2005 No 77 anonymous or Nom de Plume comments will not be available until an alternate system of author verification can be investigated and hopefully installed.

Those who provide their REAL NAME (first name AND Surname) and a verifiable email address (it won't be published) are invited to comment below. (yes it is a pain but please comply - it would be a  shame to see your comment deleted)

Those contributors KNOWN to us and verified may continue to use their First Name for ease. The primary need for all of this is due to traceability should a legal action arise.

If you need anonymity email us via our normal or encrypted email accounts


Please note that if you are looking for a previous comment that is no longer visible please contact us.