CUZNER IN NATURE: Seal population on the rise

On a recent trip to the Great Pig Rocks, I encountered dozens of seals. I usually see maybe a dozen, but this year there are far more.

The seal colony off the coast of Marblehead appears to be growing at a decent rate.  COURTESY PHOTO / RICK CUZNER

According to a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Fisheries study, around 425,000 gray seals move along the Atlantic coast between the U.S. and Canada. Their numbers have been growing by four-to-five percent each year. During the breeding season from December to February, there are an estimated 27,000 in U.S. waters.

Gray seals primarily consume sand lance, hakes, flatfish and squids. Our understanding of their diet is largely based on studies of juvenile seals, indicating a need for more research on other life stages, according to NOAA.

The Marblehead Current is proud to partner with photographer Rick Cuzner. For the past 15 years, he has taken thousands of nature photographs that capture the wild animals who call Marblehead home.

Rick Cuzner
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