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Harbour Seal: (Phoca vitulina concolor)
Ever wonder where they got their name….

1.5 meters; 95 kilograms

Harbour seals (have a small round head that makes them look like a dog in the water. They are constantly on the lookout and pop up and down, staying submerged for about 20 minutes. If not frightened they often reappear with a fish or crustacean in their mouth. The harbour seal has a variety of coat colours ranging from a bluish grey to brown or tan, usually interspersed with brown blotches. Its belly is silvery white. They are found in Chance Cove Provincial Park on the southern Avalon, and may be seen anywhere around the island, especially in areas where fresh water rivers run into the sea.

 

Harp Seal: (Phoca Groenlandica)
"Groucho" Marx of the North

1.7 meters; 136 kilograms

The harp seal has an irregular dark brown to black horse-shoe or "harp" shape that saddles the back of mature males. Adults are silvery or tan with a small dark head and fat neck that folds into the body. The young have a white coat which they shed after two weeks for one that is grey with dark blotches. When gathering on the ice flows of eastern Newfoundland to whelp in March they form the biggest herd of animals in the world, with numbers between two to three million. In the spring they usually follow the pack ice north to spend their summers in Arctic waters.

 

Herring (Clupea harengus harengus)
Herring

Newfoundland herring grow more slowly at first than those in the southern side of the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but catch up with them as they grow older. Although herring normally are not fish eaters, small launce, silversides, and the young of their own species have been found in them at Woods Hole. They eat small capelin during their winter in Newfoundland waters.

The sea herring is typical of its family in form, with body so flattened that it is much deeper than thick; moderately pointed nose; large mouth situated at the tip of the snout and lower jaw projecting a little beyond the upper when the mouth is closed; sharp-edged belly; and deeply forked tail. The dorsal fin stands over the much smaller ventrals, its origin about midway the length of the body. The scales are large, their rear margins rounded, and so loosely attached that they slip off at a touch. There is no adipose fin, and its absence at once distinguishes all the herrings from any of the salmon tribe. The chief anatomical character separating the sea herring from the shad and from the several alewives (genus Pomolobus) is that it has an oval patch of small teeth on the vomer bone in the center of the roof of the mouth. Conspicuous field marks separating herring from shad, hickory shad, and alewife are that the point of origin of its dorsal fin is about midway of the length of its trunk (considerably farther forward in the others); its body is not so deep, and the sharp midline of its belly is only very weakly sawtoothed but is usually strongly so in the others, especially along the space between ventral and anal fins.

 

Hooded seal: (Cystophora cristata)
Cute little guys makes a break for the water.

2.5 meters; 380 kilograms

The adult male hooded seal blows its elastic nasal cavity up to its forehead so that it looks like a bright-red bladder, and is nicknamed "bladdernose." When deflated the hood is a visible mound of pleated skin. It can also blow a small red-orange balloon-like nasal sac out through its nostril. Black blotches cover its blue-grey coat. It lives on the edge of the pack ice moving south during winter to fish on the Grand Banks. Hooded seal pups are born mid-March on the pack ice off southern Labrador and northeastern Newfoundland.

 

Humpback Whale: (Megaptera novaeangliae)
A symbol for NFLD

12 meters; 35 tons

When summer comes to Newfoundland and Labrador so do thousands of humpback whales Look for their balloon-shaped blow and watch while they dive with their tails in the air as if saying goodbye. Their long white side flippers, which are about one-third of their body length, can be observed at close range from shore and boats. Humpbacks arrive from the Caribbean in the early spring to feed on the south coast in the Hermitage and Placentia Bays. See this baleen whale just off St. Vincent's beach as they lunge feed for caplin.

Take a boat tour around the bird sanctuaries at Witless Bay, and then follow them to Trinity Bay and Terra Nova Park and up to the coast of Labrador.

 

Leatherback Turtle: (Dermochelys coriacea)
Nice day for a lesiurely swim

3 meters; 800 kilograms

Riding the Gulf Stream up from the Caribbean, the largest known reptile arrives in Newfoundland in late July when water temperatures are warmest and jellyfish, its main food, is most abundant. It is not known how or if Leatherback turtles return south. Their shell is rigid, tough and leathery with five to seven ridges running the length of it. The flippers are unusually long. Leatherbacks are now an endangered species and many are found dead from ingesting floating plastic bags or balloons which they mistake for jellyfish.

Ask fishermen if they have seen them—you are sure to get an interesting story.

 

Lobster (Homarus americanus)
One of these is a bit cold - can you guess which?

To determine the potential effectiveness of no-take reserves in sustaining fisheries for American lobster (Homarus americanus), lobster movement and survival were quantified both within and outside of two no-take reserves in Bonavista Bay, Newfoundland, during 1997–1999. Most (58.7%) tagged lobsters were recaptured in the immediate vicinity of their original capture location.

Among lobsters that moved, 77.1% traveled less than 1000 m.

Lobster movement resulted in some exchange between no-take reserves and nearby harvested areas (8.7% of lobsters recaptured were in an area different from their location of tagging). Overall, little evidence was found for a relationship between lobster movement and sex, size, or time at large. Annual harvesting mortality accounted for up to 71.9% for lobsters eligible for harvest. However, many more lobsters tagged outside of no-take reserves were harvested (11.5–71.9%) than those tagged in no-take reserves (0.0–18.5%), a result of low frequency of movement between these areas.

No difference was found between female and male mortality as a result of the fishery. Because the frequency of lobster emigration from reserves was relatively low and harvesting pressure outside of reserves was intense, results suggest that no-take reserves can offer increased survival to lobsters and thereby may provide benefits to fisheries.

 

Lumpfish (Cyclopterus lumpus)
Lumpfish

Overfishing has occurred. In Newfoundland the catch rate was 229 lb (104 kg) per net per year in 1979 (total landings 85 tonnes) at 16 nets per boat, whereas by 1996 the catch rate was down to 21 lb (9.5 kg) per net per year (total landings still 82 tonnes) at 40 nets per boat, and nearly ten times as many boats in the same region.

Thick body with rows of hard, conical tubercles, and with a soft, cartilaginous hump on the back, embedding the first dorsal fin. The tubercles are in a single row along the back and in three lateral rows on each side. Pelvic fins are modified into a suction disc. The fish is green, gray, blue, or brown, with red highlights on breeding males. Breeding females become distended with eggs. Lumpfishes have reached 2 ft (61 cm) and 21 lb (9.5 kg).

Most roe products are exceptionally valuable relative to the given species' flesh. For example, landings of lumpfish roe in Newfoundland climbed to over 3,000 t in 1987; however reported landings of lumpfish carcasses are negligible; lumpfish flesh is not highly regarded table fare by Newfoundlanders, with high water content and low protein and oil yields, it is unsuitable for reduction. Newfoundland fishermen tend to cull lumpfish carcasses at sea. The lumpfish roe is exported as caviar. The caviar is a firm, crunchy texture, with a pronounced salty fish flavor.

 

Mackerel (Scomber scombrus)
He doesn't look happy - I bet he'd rather be fishing….

Atlantic mackerel school by size.They overwinter in deeper waters but move closer to shore in spring when water temperatures range between 11° and 14° C. Two separate populations with little or no interchange seem to exist in the northwestern and northeastern Atlantic (including the Mediterranean).

In the western population spawning takes place from Cheasapeake Bay to Newfoundland, initiating in the south in spring and progressively extending northward during the summer. Most of the spawning take place within 10 to 30 miles from shore, but never in low-salinity estuaries. Large fish are the first to arrive at the spawning sites. The eastern population spawns from March to April in the Mediterranean, from May to June off southern England, northern France and in the North Sea, and from June to July in the Kattegat and Skagerrak. Fecundity, in a medium-sized female, fluctuates between 200 000 and 450 000 eggs per season and increases with size; spawning occurs in batches. Maturity is attained at an age of 2 or 3 years. Juvenile Atlantic mackerel feed on zooplankton (fish larvae, small crustaceans, pteropods).As they grow, they are in turn preyed upon by tunas, sharks and dolphins.

 

Minke Whale: (Balaenoptera acutorostrata)
They come in like they own the place.

8 meters; 7 tons

A common inshore sight in Newfoundland bays, the solitary minke whale is the smallest baleen whale. The minke blow is low and often not noticeable. Be quick to look because it is a fast moving whale spending a few minutes cruising and diving near the surface before its terminal dive of 15 to 20 minutes. Differing from the humpback, it dives without showing its tail fin. Minke whales are black on top with a tall hooked dorsal fin and small side flippers that have a white patch on them. Their bellies are pure white.

You can see them in harbors during summer and fall as they feed on caplin, herring and mackerel. They hang around fishermen's gear to catch fish that escape.

 

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