This is an update, an observation and a suggestion on the Narooma Seal situation we have written about and have been updating our Instagram with. We broke the story of locals feeding the Seals in Narooma and the conflict we saw coming. After our article, fences were constructed as a short term solution. This was unfortunately just too late, with a Fishermen being bitten shortly after. We want to see a long term solution before both human and seal occupants suffer from this situation.
On a recent trip to the beautiful town of Warrnambool, we spotted a HUGE Australian Fur Seal at the boat ramp. We were disappointed to see he was being fed by a Fishermen. (I would like to take this opportunity to add that said Fishermen was a lovely man. He had named said Seal- surprise surprise, Sammy.)
He had managed to train Sammy to “sit” to wait for the fish heads. Sammy apparently sat and waited for fish heads from local fishermen regularly. This Fishermen chatted us for a good while, knew a fair amount about Sammy. When somebody tried to get too close, he warned him off and asked him not to scare Sammy.
We were pretty disappointed to see a Fishermen feeding the Seal- something the ultimately isn’t too good for Sammy. But, we did notice a real different in the way that the local agencies had managed this situation- ultimately and very simply, they had put up signs.
This is exactly what we would love to see at Narooma. Sign posting for Fishermen, and importantly tourists. Information about the Seals, and recommendations to stay away from the wild animals and not to feed them.
Seals are wild animals, that we should not be promoting coming in for human interactions. The problems seen in Narooma could easily be diffused with a bit of education and better management. A blame-less situation that needs forward thinking, positivity and action to prevent a bigger issue. A sign would be a really easy, unobtrusive start. This is particularly important, in time for the busy Summer period this year. Reminding all those in Narooma that we live amongst wild animals that deserve a place.
What do you think? This is a very difficult issue that has caused quite debate within residents in Narooma and we want to know your thoughts.