Seal diet update

Photograph of Fur Seal.Photograph courtesy of DOC, Te AnauSeal diet update

In 2010 the Fiordland Marine Guardians carried out a review of their initial five years.  During that review there were a number of public discussions held throughout Southland.  One of the topics of discussion that was raised in the public forums was the question of how seals fit in to the food web and what it is exactly that they feed on. 

There have been a number of seal diet studies carried out around the country over the years and there is variation between particular areas.  It does appear that the major prey items are squid, octopus, lanternfish, red cod, hoki and other deeper sea species but no specific studies have been carried out solely within the Fiordland area.


Due to the public interest in what seals are eating and the Guardians desire to continue to gather information that will help with their ability to manage the Fiordland Marine Area (FMA), a Fiordland specific diet study will be initiated this year by DOC.  The plan is to gather information about what seals are eating in Fiordland throughout different seasons and to find out how much they feed within the fiords themselves.

Colony of Seals in the FMA. Photograph courtesy of DOC, Te Anau

Watch this space for more information in the future.

Richard Kinsey, DOC, Te Anau