It Is Seal Season In Delaware

Seals Can Be Sighted On The Beaches, Piers And Area Waterways

(Jan 1, 2019) … This was a couple years ago but the information is the same. Every year seals migrate south and we see more and more of them in Delaware. Right now they are around the outer walls and ice breakers, but soon they will start coming closer to shore to hunt for food (fish). If you encounter a seal there a few things you should know. The main one being leave it alone. Yes they are cute and look like little sea puppies, do not pet them.
Seals are mammals and they can carry diseases and bacteria that can transfer to humans.  Contact with them is not a good idea, and illegal. 

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Harp seal at Tower Beach on New Years Day 2019

Leave the seal alone, do not approach. Seals will pull up on a beach, pier, or bay bank to rest, sun themselves and/or avoid predators. Scaring a seal back into the water can be detrimental to its survival, especially if it is avoiding a predator. That predator would be a shark, this time of year. A great white shark.

Sometimes seals are sick or injured, Contact MERR, (Marine Education, Research & Rehabilitation Institute) they can check the seal for any issues.
MERR will also keep people away from the seal allowing it to rest in peace. Most of the time seals are just resting or avoiding a predator. Best to just leave them alone. MERR will want to know location, time of day seen, and condition if possible.

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Seal on the outer wall photo by Luke Attanasi

By law (federal) you are not supposed to be within 150 feet of a seal. That is not only for the seal’s protection but also yours. They bite, I mean wouldn’t you if someone was messing with you while you were napping? Most of the juvenile seals are young and contact with humans is not something they are accustomed. No they do not want a selfie with you either.

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One of my favorite photos submitted … Seal on the ice near a pilot ship .. Photo from Captain Kane Bounds
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DO NOT FEED THEM! Seals are predatory hunters they do not need food from you. Getting them used to being fed by humans can be very detrimental to their survival. In the past while surf fishing we have had seals follow us along the beaches as we would move to give it room. Someone fed them at some point and they were looking for a meal.

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Harp seal that visited Roosevelt Inlet
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Shamrock the seal entangled in a mesh net and debris
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Grey seal and a Harbor seal at the haystacks photo by Sharon Lynn
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Seal sunning itself on the marsh at Massey’s Landing after fishing the ditch.

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