Seal Posse: Keeping The Food Chain Going Is Important

Mister Jaws

Those winds created a rough ocean which kept kayakers and paddleboards out of the water. The minimized crowds on the water meant less disturbance to seal moms during pupping season. That is a very important factor in the survival of seal pups.

“When you interfere with the mom and the pup you frequently just kill the pup,” Akeman said.

Kim Akeman, Monterey Bay Sanctuary Shoreline docent added, “disturbances you may not see the effect right away. But a disturbance on wildlife can have an effect even months down the line.”

Seal Posse: Keeping The Food Chain Going Is Important

Seal Posse Opposes Hotel At ATC

And did you know that a Fakebook Page about seals has fewer followers than subscribers to the Hear-old?

Pacific Grove’s shoreline is also a place where thousands of tourists flock to in order to observe wildlife, including the popular seals around Hopkins Marine Station. Thom Akeman, a docent with Bay Net, the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s volunteer naturalist program, said he’s seen more than 1,000 newborn pups over the past 17 years he’s been a docent.

He’s talked about seals with more than 50,000 visitors and has trained other docents to help tourists and visitors understand the seal colonies. His wife, Kim Akeman, maintains a Facebook page called “Harbor Seals of Pacific Grove” that has in excess of 12,000 followers.

“We have seen how little it takes sometimes to disturb the harbor seals and drive them off the beaches,” Thom Akeman said about the estimated two years worth of construction that includes removing an estimated 70,000 tons of granite bedrock — enough to fill 6,000 dump trucks.

The environmental report states that no blasting will occur at the site, but it also notes in a geotechnical report that removing that much granite “will probably not be possible with conventional construction equipment.” It does not reference what alternative means of excavation would be used.

Seal Posse Opposes Hotel At ATC

Seals Off To Good Start, Expect More Sharks

Mister Jaws

Akeman and her husband visit the seals almost daily and track their numbers, conducting a Harbor Seal Census annually. This year the pair are predicting 55-60 live births based on how things are going with Koala and her pup and their count on pregnant moms.

2018 was a very good year for the colony and Baynet recorded 70 births. The population has been in recovery mode since 2014 when changing ocean temperatures in the bay depleted food sources. In 2016 just 16 pups were born in the Monterey area.

Seals Off To Good Start, Expect More Sharks

Pollution Advisory For Beaches. Again.

Seal posse Thom Ache-man’s bacteria pollutes beaches

Seal Posse Orange Sign

The Monterey County Health Department has issued a Beach Advisory for Lovers Point Beach in Pacific Grove and Monterey Municipal Beach

There are various sources of bacteria such as marine life (i.e. seals, otters, and birds) and other animals; rainfall runoff; storm drains; and human activity. Rainfall is associated with increased bacterial levels due to runoff particularly in the area of man-made and natural storm drains such as culverts, streams and rivers.

Pollution Advisory For Beaches

Sea Lion Population Triples

More orcas and sharks will quickly follow. Thanks Thom Ache-man.

Seal Posse Red Sign

But all the sea lions have caused problems.

They have broken docks and sunk boats at marinas. They have vexed salmon fishermen, following their boats and eating valuable fish off their lines.

“With some fishing days seeing as few as five to 10 fish, a commercial fisherman can still make money with 10 fish if they are $10 per pound, but if you’re losing them to sea lions that can have a major effect,” said John McManus, executive director of the Golden Gate Salmon Association in San Francisco.

Sea Lion Population Triples

Newcomer Akeman Wants Less Newcomers

I felt the same way 30 years ago when Ache-man the news reporter moved here and wrote articles and later an instruction manual for moving to the area. The man does not realize he’s been part of the problem all along,

Tom Acheman

“There are times it’s like living in an airport terminal,” Thom Akeman says of the sounds of rolling luggage and loud voices of vacationers on his street located near downtown. Akeman served on a subcommittee that advised the city before last year’s revision, but he says residents’ concerns were not adequately considered.

Newcomer Akeman Wants Less Newcomers

Seals Not Having A Peaceful Place To Birth Pups

Maybe all the nosy Seal Posse people are scaring them off

Volunteers with Baynet are reporting people disturbing the animals at the Hopkins Beach Rookery in an off limits area.

The animals are very skittish and will flee the beach if spooked by human activity.

“Right now we’ve got some pretty delicate situations among the harbor seals, there are a lot of pregnancies,” said Thom Akeman with Baynet.

The fear is people on the beach will scare mom off of the beach, either before delivery or after, leaving her separated from baby.

Akeman said it has already happened twice this year.

“We had two seal pups born over the weekend in rocks, while that is normal for harbor seals, that is not normal for this colony,” he said.

The harbor seals at Hopkins Beach usually deliver pups in the sand where it is easier and more protected. Akeman thinks these two moms may have been scared off the beach by people.

Seals Not Having A Peaceful Place To Birth Pups

Newcomer Acheman’s Seal Posse Reports Drop In Seals

Wonder why.

Hungry Alien Sharks

According to a population census taken on Nov. 25 by husband and wife Thom and Kim Akeman, volunteers with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s shoreline program Bay Net, the Pacific Grove Harbor seal population has declined by one-third. Numbers have plunged from about 700 individuals, based on preliminary counts taken by Monterey Bay Aquarium researcher Teri Nicholson in the 1990s, to fewer than 500 in the last couple of years, the Akemans reported. Uncharacteristically warm waters, which depleted the marine environment of oxygen and food, are to blame, they added.

Newcomer Acheman’s Seal Posse Reports Drop In Seals

Fewer Seals Sighted Sunning On Shore

Tired of being watched so the went to Pismo?

Hungry Alien Sharks

People along the coast in Pacific Grove have been asking where all the seals have gone. According to a new census report, at least a third of the harbor seals along the Monterey Peninsula have disappeared.

Seal experts said it is hard to know how many of the missing seals are actually dead, but studies show that at least 40 disappear from the Monterey Peninsula colony each year.

“Particularly for the harbor seals if you come up to this fence you don’t want to go above the fence line. They take that as a threat and they will immediately vacate the beach. So we want to control that stress level because they’re already dealing with a lot,” said Kim Akeman.

Fewer Seals Sighted Sunning On Shore

Newcomer Ache-man Reports On Seals

Ex Tree Posse now seal posse reports on The Warm Blob.

Hungry Alien Sharks

Akeman and wife Kim monitor the seals year round and they’ve said the seals had a rough season in 2015.

Warm water temperatures from El Nino and the warm blob drove food sources farther out to sea last year. Seals starved to death and some had trouble during the pupping season.

“There have been a lot of shark bites we’ve seen on seals. This is their favorite food and some may have disappeared but we have seen a lot of survivors,” he said.

Newcomer Ache-man Reports On Seals