Estimation of prey selectivity by grey seals: Implications for the mortality of fish and possible consequence of management actions on seals


Elevated adult natural mortality (M) has prevented the recovery of numerous depleted Atlantic Canada groundfish populations. Advice to the Minister in 2011 indicated that there is substantial indirect evidence that predation by grey seals might explain much of the elevated M in southern Gulf of St. Lawrence populations. However, direct evidence of an adverse predation impact is lacking because of difficulties in determining the amount of each species consumed by seals. Estimating a functional response (FR) for grey seals (describing how prey preference changes with prey abundance) would allow for more reliable estimation of grey seal diets and more accurate modeling of the ecosystem-level effects of changes in seal abundance. This project aims to enhance our understanding of prey selection and consumption by grey seals.

Program Name

Strategic Program for Ecosystem-based Research and Advice (SPERA)


Atlantic: Gulf of St. Lawrence, St. Lawrence Estuary

Principal Investigator(s)

Hugues Benoît

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