TIDAL THAMES GETS SEAL OF APPROVAL – WORSE LUCK!
SINCE the mid-1970s there have been occasional seal excursions up the tidal Thames, usually terminating at Teddington Weir.
Once every three or four years was the norm. Now, probably thanks to an exceptionally dry summer meaning less fresh water going down the river, local angling expert John Gard has made ‘at least’ 20 sightings. It could be the seals are following what has been a very strong sea-trout run.
Some of these could possibly have been the same pinnipeds who’d stayed a little longer than usual, but that doesn’t account for them all. John tells me some have been smaller, probably juvenile, seals whilst one in particular has been enormous.
Otters don’t even get close to what a seal will consume. According to academics the average otter needs 2lb of food a day, about the same as a cormorant. Seals will eat between 30 and 40 times that much.
Seals are at least as protected as otters, and with the flow on the Thames and other tidal rivers not likely to increase any time soon, this is another load our fish stocks have to bear. The beasts are foraging way outside their normal range. We just have to suck it up!