Research on the Baltic seals

The recovery of the Baltic ringed seal and the grey seal populations has increased the conflict between seals and coastal fisheries. The grey seal causes most of the seal-induced damages but also ringed seal depredation can be substantial in the Bothnian Bay. The Bothnian Bay is the main distribution area of the Baltic ringed seal and only area where the population has clearly increased in recent years. This study investigated movements and habitat use of the Baltic ringed seal and grey seal in relation to coastal fishing areas and different environmental factors. Information gained in this study is used in assessing ecological and economical impacts of the conflict mitigation actions to the seal populations and coastal fisheries. Results can be used also in developing seal-safe fishing gear in Lake Saimaa. UEF collaborated closely with the Natural Resources Institute Finland in this research project.