Harp seals well out to sea with good ice conditions
There won't be many harp seals seen along P.E.I.'s North Shore this year, say Fisheries and Oceans officials.
Poor ice conditions the last few years forced the harp seal herd close to shore. This year, however, the ice is thicker. Fisheries officials are finding the seals much further away from P.E.I., close to the entrance of the Cabot Strait, between Cape Breton and Newfoundland.
"The last few years we have not had much ice and as a result the seals had started to show up, along the north side of P.E.I. in particular," said Fisheries and Oceans research scientist Mike Hammill.
"This year it doesn't look like they'll be close to P.E.I. at all, they'll be 80 to 100 miles [130 to 160 km] to the north of P.E.I. So I doubt very much that we would see any harp seals around P.E.I. this year."
Hammill said the harp seal population this year is around 7.4 million in all of eastern Canada, similar to other years.
The harp seal hunt usually starts around the end of March. The grey seal hunt is currently open in several areas of the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence.
There is no seal hunting currently underway around P.E.I.