Scoile Mhuire's Election
Scoile Mhuire Primary School in
Sandymount, held an election to name a seal before being released.
Photograph by Andrew
Clearly, harp seals eat a wide range of species. Their diet also
varies with age, season, location and year.
In the North: Harp seals summering in West Greenland and northern
Canadian waters (north of Nain, Labrador) feed on pelagic
crustaceans, such as euphausiids, and small fishes, such as Arctic
cod (Boreogadus saida), polar cod (Arctogadus glacialis) and capelin
In the South: During the southern (fall) migration, harp seals
forage along the coast of Labrador (south of Nain) and in the Gulf
of St. Lawrence (the Gulf) on a variety of fishes and invertebrates.
In the St. Lawrence River they eat capelin from December to
February, prior to the pupping season. Lactating females and
moulting harp seals feed infrequently, although mothers forage
intensively on capelin in the St. Lawrence River after weaning their
Harp seals collected from nearshore waters of Newfoundland and
Labrador prey upon a broad array of fish and invertebrate species,
although Arctic cod is by far the most important. In Northeast
Newfoundland there was a notable shift in the diet of seals aged one
and older from capelin in 1982 to Arctic cod in 1986 and beyond,
while Atlantic cod remained relatively unimportant throughout this
period. Offshore, capelin predominate, followed by sand lance
(Ammodytes sp.), Greenland halibut (Reinhardtius hippoglossoides)
and other flounders.
During the northern (spring) migration, harp seals feed along the
Labrador coast on a variety of species, including euphausiids,
various codfishes, capelin and shrimp, while in the Gulf migrating
seals feed less frequently, primarily on capelin and herring.
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