Seal tackles a salmon in the River Neath

Monday 21 December 2009, 13:57

Martin Aaron Martin Aaron

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We've had some great photos sent in since we started this blog but every now and again we get something really special.

Mike Davies has been a regular contributor to the website over the years and this morning at around 11am, photographed a seal in the River Neath taking on what appears to be a good sized salmon.

You'd normally expect to witness this kind of scene out in the ocean so I wonder what has prompted this seal to venture so far up stream?

Perhaps he's discovered that there are easier and better pickings to be had in the river upstream, especially if the salmon are spawning which normally occurs between Oct-Dec but can be as late as February in larger rivers.

Fisherman everywhere will be either be drooling or sobbing quietly somewhere.

All photos by Mike Davies:

seal1.pg.jpg

seal2.jpg

seal3.jpg

Here's what Mike had to say:

"As you can see in the one photo he caught me by surprise. In all my 65 years I have never seen a seal in the River Neath in Neath before".

"This one had a struggle to eat the fish. The seal, approx 4ft in length then swam out with the out going tide. I was very lucky to have captured these shots".

Gull

Radio 4 - World On the Move - Salmon migration

Atlantic Salmon Trust - Salmon facts

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Comments

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  • rate this
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    Comment number 1.

    Great shots - it's great to see the valleys' rivers starting to return to the natural abundance of preindustrial times. I was watching kingfishers and dippers on the Afon Lwyd in Pontypool just yesterday.

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    Comment number 2.

    Hi Betula,

    Agree with you about the recovery of the valleys rivers.

    Not sure if you are aware but there is a new fish pass on the Afon Lwyd in Pontypool (beneath the canal aquaduct). This should mean that you will see salmon and sea trout in the river in future (but hopefully not the seals that far upstream !).

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    Comment number 3.

    Hi Glasydorlan

    I've been down to the Pontymoile weir a few times recently to see if any salmon were jumping - I've never seen them but I know a few people who've been lucky enough to have sightings. The fish pass is quite an impressive structure and hopefully will help salmon and other migratory fish species get back up stream. There have been a few sightings of salmon north of Pontypool already - unlike Neath though, no seals have been spotted (yet?!!)

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    Comment number 4.

    It saddened me to see a seal devouring what are the seeds of recovery of this lovely river. Seals are quite bright and have quickly realised that humans shooing them away pose no danger and are frequently seen many miles upriver where the fishing is far easier than in the open ocean. This has contributed to the depletion of salmon and sea-trout stocks throughout the UK.
    I hope he (or she) doesn't bring friends to tea next time.

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    Comment number 5.

    My theory is that this salmon has come in with the incoming tide and quite possible the seal had followed it's route for sometime
    to my knowledge no salmon has been "put" into the river Neath,
    I pass over the river bridge every day and this is most def a first salmon I have come across.

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    Comment number 6.

    You can't really get too upset about a seal eating a fish though. It's not the seals that have depleted fish stocks and destroyed the rivers and habitats of the spawning salmon...it's us!

    That seal is just doing what he was born to do and as they say ""there are plenty more fish in the sea" (if only that were true!) but there are plenty of fish in the rivers aside from salmon and sewin.

    I've see a lot of salmon jumping in the Taff in recent yrs too which really surprised me, being so close to our capital.

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    Comment number 7.

    There's a BBC News story today about a baby seal being found in someone's garden in Kent, 18 miles from the sea!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/8428594.stm

 

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