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Keywords:

  • harbor seals;
  • Phoca vitulina;
  • Klamath River;
  • seal predations;
  • salmonids;
  • seining mortalities;
  • diet;
  • pinnipeds;
  • California

Abstract

Feeding activity of harbor seals (Phoca vitulina) was monitored while the California Department of Fish and Game seined and tagged migrating adult salmonids between 1984 and 1988. The number of predations observed each week of observation was significantly correlated with the number of fish seined during that week. There was a significantly higher number of predations observed on days when seining took place than on days when no seining occurred. Our observations suggest that most, if not all, predations we observed on days when seining occurred involved fish that had been recently seined and released. The estimated percentage of seined fish taken by seals was relatively constant over the five years of the study, ranging from 3.1% to 5.5%. Various strategies for reducing the level of predation on seined salmonids in the lower Klamath River are discussed.