PHOTO: A harbor seal has found a comfortable living at the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor on an overcast February evening. (photos courtesy David W. Rossbach)
A harbor seal was seen resting at the Atlantic Highlands Municipal Harbor last night. Seals like to rest on docks, beaches, even on top of pilings, according to Stranding Technician Mike Kapp of the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, New Jersey.
Fish-rich Jersey waters are home to harbor seals, hooded, gray and even the arctic harp seals from October until about May, when they migrate to colder waters in New England. “As long as it is not too warm, they will stay and fish,” said Kapp.
PHOTO: Another harbor seal visitor was observed on December 28, according to Atlantic Highlands Police Chief David W. Rossbach.
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What should I do if I see a seal on the beach?
According to the Marine Mammal Stranding Center, seals are protected by both state and federal laws – it is therefore illegal to approach and/or touch a seal. Most seals come onto the shore just to take a rest, and if you approach them, they will get scared and may return to the sea before they’re ready. If they’re injured, they will not get the care they need.
Please also keep all pets (dogs) away from the animals, as they will most definitely scare them and may also contract any diseases the seal is carrying.
Kapp said after viewing the recent photo, “This one looks perfectly healthy.”
The recommended viewing distance is from at least 150 feet away. Call MMSC at 609-266-0538 to report all sightings.
Whales, Dolphins, and Sea turtles are also protected by state and federal laws – the same rules apply. Please keep a safe distance and call the Marine Mammal Stranding Center.
Visit NOAA’s website for Seal Viewing Guidelines here: https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/protected/mmp/viewing/guidelines/seal/seal_viewing_guidelines_card_ac.pdf