The diet of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) at the southern limit of its European distribution (Normandy, France)
AbstractChanges in habitat availability or resources are likely to have the biggest impact on survival or abundance of individuals found at the extremity of the population’s range. In the case of such marginal populations, the first step in designing appropriate conservation plans is the identification of potential risks to the viability of the population, or subpopulation. For example, the interaction between coastal seals and fisheries is often considered as a major conservation issue, due to the potential co-exploitation of the same resources by both fishermen and seals. The diet of harbour seals was investigated by scat analysis at the southern extremity of their European range, in Baie des Veys (Normandy, France). A total of 121 scats, analysed following standard methodologies, revealed a diet largely dominated by mullets, Mugilidae (49% by mass), plaice Pleuronectes platess (29% by mass) and garfish, Belone belone (19% by mass). The diet of harbour seals at the edge of their European distribution differs from all previous studies conducted elsewhere, in terms of species composition, but shows a similar balance between fat and lean fish. Overall dietcomposition suggests a low potential for interaction with fisheries as commercial fishery target species are almost absent.
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (SeeThe Effect of Open Access).