The Sea Shepherd

Friday, April 24, 2009

Sea Shepherd Blog Lays Claim for $25000 Reward

Seals eat the soft bellies of cod fish. This is a fact that
Newfoundlanders and Labradorian fishermen have made claim to for a long time.
For years fishermen have witnessed seals eating the bellies of codfish and have shown the remains of carcasses of codfish with bellies removed. We have seen seals swarming schools of codfish, we have seen codfish torn apart by seals, their bellies removed.

The proof of this has been elusive though. Showing seals among codfish does not proof they rip their bellies open. Showing the resulting codfish with the bellies chewed free does not proof that the seals in fact did the deed. In addition the contents of a seals stomach cannot be easily investigated to proof the point since the soft bellies and liver of the codfish are so quickly broken down by the seals digestive system. In fact the only real evidence that any marine organism is eating a codfish would be the presence of the otiliths, small dense bonelike formations in the cod's skull that persist for a time in the stomach of its predator. In fact craftspeople make earrings out of these otiliths, like tiny jewels. If the seals don't eat the heads - no otiliths. So there's the catch to anyone making a claim that seals destroy cod by eating there soft underbelly. So confident is Paul Watson in the difficulty to pose any reliable proof that seals are a destructive factor in cod populations that he has made a long standing offer of reward of $25000 for proof.

Today Seashepherd blog is making claim for the $25000 and offering proof for the public to witness in the photo above.

Seashepherd blog upon receive of the reward money will not accept any financial benefit for our own part in submitting this proof. Instead we will donate half the reward for the photographer and the families of sealers who have had a poor year on the hunt, to be offered to the sealers association for distribution of the funds and the remaining $12500 SeaShepherd blog will donate to the SPCA charities across Newfoundland and Labrador for their valuable and underfunded efforts in their work.

I have e-mailed the Good Capt. with instructions and an address to send the cheque to.

Close attention to the photo will show what fishermen have been saying for years. Notice how the seal is tearing the soft white flesh of the cod's belly, pulling it apart in his teeth. Notice how the cod fish has already been stripped up the the head, the seal in effect trimming the cod's belly away like you would eat an ear of corn. Undeniable even for the most stubborn skeptic. The article described exactly as Newfoundland and Labrador fishermen have been observing for decades, that the smaller fish are eaten whole, and the larger fish picked clean. "They eat all the parts that we wouldn't" leaving the meat of the fish.

The dining habits of the seal on cod fish is important to the ecology of the cod because there has been a substantial decrease in the numbers of larger cod. Eating only the bellies means that larger cod that would have larger amounts of spawn in addition to being a genetically larger and stronger breed are destroyed instead.

I have e-mailed Paul with an instructions and address where the $25000
can be sent.

Paul repeats his offer here:
Captain Watson: No, you saw a news report that said that and you did not
see any seals that were engaged in ripping the stomachs out of cod and
leaving the gutted bodies behind. You did not see it because there has
never been any film of it. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society has had
a standing offer to pay $25,000 to any person who can document a harp
seal ripping the stomach out of a cod and leaving the body behind.
Photo source is here.