Authorities euthanase Portland seal that became aggressive towards humans

HUMANELY EUTHANASED: The seal on the Portland boat ramp became irate when someone tried to pass it last month. Picture: Mathew Butcher
HUMANELY EUTHANASED: The seal on the Portland boat ramp became irate when someone tried to pass it last month. Picture: Mathew Butcher

AUTHORITIES have euthanased a seal in Victoria to protect the public after they say it became aggressive.

Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning compliance operation program manager Mark Breguet said the decision to humanely euthanase the Australian fur seal on Thursday was not made lightly.

"All management options, including translocation, were considered," Mr Breguet said.

"Translocation was evaluated as being unsuitable due to the seal's aggressive behaviour and the likelihood it would return to the boat ramp or become an issue at another site," Mr Breguet said.

He said members of the public reported the seal had acted aggressively in recent weeks, particularly when seeking fish scraps discarded by anglers.

Mr Breguet said the operation showed how quickly wild animals became dependent on humans for food. He urged anglers to be responsible with fish scraps.

"It serves as a reminder that seals are wild animals with natural hunting instincts to source food. By feeding seals or incorrectly discarding fish scraps, humans disrupt this instinct," Mr Breguet said.

"Discard scraps in a bin or take your catch home to clean it. Do not throw them into the water or feed them to seals."

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DELWP will continue working with the Port of Portland and Glenelg Shire to educate anglers and the public about the consequences of feeding seals.

Under the Wildlife (Marine Mammals) Regulations 2009, the offence for feeding a seal carries a $242 on the spot fine, and a maximum fine of up to $3223.80.

The following conditions and minimum approach distances apply:

  • Do not approach within 30 metres of a seal on land.
  • Dogs are not permitted within 50 metres of a seal on land or in the water.
  • On boat ramps or piers, stay at 5 least metres away from seals.