Seals On The Beaches What You Need To Know

Seals migrate to Delaware every winter and their numbers are increasing.   The past couple weeks seals have been seen on the beaches of Delaware and Ocean City, MD.  When seals pull up on the docks around the inland bays, for the most part they are just resting and chilling.  When they pull up on beaches that is usually the same case, but sometimes they are stressed or sick.  It is best to not approach them and to stay at least 150 feet away.  When they come up on a beach they may have been avoiding a predator, which happen to be sharks.  Scaring the seal back into the water could put it at risk.  If they are sick they will pull up on a beach so they do not drown, after all they are mammals that breathe air.  Stressing out the sick seal can scare them off and cause them to perish.

Seal seen in Delaware, sussex county, cape henlopen state park
Seal seen in Delaware

Last year a rescued seal didn’t last twelve hours, it was very sick and weak.  So if you see a seal, do not approach it, and contact MERR at 302 228 5029 immediately.  It is preferred to leave a text message with any details, a location, and time of day.  MERR is very timely responding to any alert of all stranded marine mammals.  Pictures are nice too, but do not approach the seal, use the zoom on your camera.  Suzanne Thurman of MERR …“We ask the public to maintain a mandatory minimum distance of 150’ from the animal at all times. The objective is to help the seal to engage in normal resting and feeding behavior without feeling stressed, harassed or threatened. Please do not attempt to feed, capture, or in any other way interact with them.  Seals can transmit disease to humans and their pets, and can bite if threatened or afraid. Furthermore, these species are protected under federal law. Interaction and harassment can result in fines up to $20,000 and up to 2 years imprisonment. ” 

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Harp seal at Tower Beach on New Years Day 2019

Some of the charters and head boats in Lewes have tours to go see the seals that hang out around the haystacks or ice breakers in the Delaware Bay at the harbor of safe refuge.  You can usually see grey and harbor seals on the rocks out there.  There are a lot of seals on the rocks around the Chesapeake Bay bridge tunnel.

Fish On!
Rich King

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