NOAA Offers Tips for Dealing with Seals at the Beach

Courtesy of NOAA Fisheries/Kimberly Murray, NEFSC. Image taken under MMPA research permit #17670-04.

HYANNIS – With the start of the beach season, NOAA Fisheries is reminding beach goers to be respectful of local seals.

During pupping season, it’s common to see a seal pup resting on the beach alone, and experts are encouraging humans to keep their distance.

Never attempt to cover, pick up, touch feed, or push the animal back into the water and be sure to maintain a safe distance of at least 150 feet, from the animal to avoid injury to yourself, your pets, or injury to the animal.

Experts say it’s normal for a mother seal to leave her young pup alone on the beach for up to 24 hours while she feeds. You may not see the mother offshore, but if she sees you near her pup, she may not think it’s safe to return and could abandon the newborn.

They also say seals can be dangerous as they have powerful jaws and can leave a lasting impression.

If your behavior changes the seal’s behavior, that’s considered harassment, which is illegal under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

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