Diet of the harbour seals Phoca vitulina of Dundrum Bay, north-east Ireland

S. C. Wilson, Graham John Pierce, C. M. Higgins, M. J. Armstrong

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10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study has shown that the main constituents of the diet of the harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) of Dundrum Bay, County Down, north-east Ireland, during the past few years (1995-2000) have been small flatfish and gadid fish, with the emphasis shifting from the beginning to the end of the study period from flatfish to gadids, principally whiting and haddock/ pollack / saithe. During both 1995 and 1996 the diet of post-weaning pups consisted almost entirely of small gadid fish. The implications of this relatively poor diet, apparently deficient in oily fish, are considered-together with information on fish stocks in the north-west Irish Sea in recent years-in the context of an apparent decline both in the breeding population of harbour seals along the County Down coast and in the play behaviour of juvenile seals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1009-1018
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom
Volume82
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2002

Keywords

  • SEASONAL-VARIATION
  • COMMON SEALS
  • SOCIAL PLAY
  • SHETLAND UK
  • MORAY-FIRTH
  • SCOTLAND
  • MOUSA

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