Bogskär seals catcasses retrieved for analysis

Oceana, Finnish Coast Guard and Åland Government cooperate to try to investigate the reasons for the seals die-off in Bogskär skerry.

Press Release Date: May 29, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: | tel.: Marta Madina

Yesterday morning, a team of divers from the Oceana research vessel Hanse Explorer led a Finnish Coast Guard patrol boat to a site close to Bögskar skerry, a small island 30 miles south of Marienhamn. Over one week earlier at this location, the environmentalists spotted at least a dozen dead seals of different sizes, at a depth of ten meters. A wildlife manager from the government of the Åland islands was present onboard the Finnish boat, in order to collect some of the dead individuals.

The Oceana divers descended to collect several of the carcasses, which were transferred from the Hanse Explorer zodiacs to the Finnish patrol boat, and then taken to land for further investigation into the cause of death. According to Oceana biologists onboard the research vessel, possible explanations for the mortality include natural causes, physical trauma, or infection by a toxin or virus. The animals had already been dead for several weeks when they were discovered by the Oceana team, so determining the cause of death at this point may not be possible.

For the second year in a row, Oceana’s Hanse Explorer is undertaking a two-month expedition in the Baltic Sea. During this expedition, the organisation has already carried out more than one hundred diving operations, by both scuba divers and Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROV). A CTD device is being used to measure salinity, temperature and chlorophyll, and samples of the bottom sediments have been taken, down to the deepest areas of the sea.

The goal of these annual expeditions is to collect environmental and habitat information that will help Oceana to support the Baltic Sea governments in declaring up to 30% of the sea as Marine Protected Areas, following international recommendations for the recovery of good environmental status of this sea. Oceana will also use this information in its campaigns to improve the management of Baltic Sea fisheries.

For more information and statements:

  • Christina Abel, Oceana marine scientist onboard the Hanse Explorer: + 45 30463627
  • Hanna Paulomäki, marine scientist, Oceana Baltic Sea Project manager: +45 24812366
  • Oceana Baltic Sea Project office: + 45 33151160

Learn more: Oceana 2012 Baltic Sea Expedition

Previous press releases from the 18th and 23rd