Oceana and governments of Finland and Åland Islands to investigate reasons for seal deaths

Authorities requested to investigate whether similar cases have been documented in nearby areas

Press Release Date: May 23, 2012

Location: Madrid


Marta Madina | email: mmadina@oceana.org | tel.: Marta Madina

In a letter sent yesterday to the Finnish Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Minister of the Environment, and the Social and Environmental Minister of the Åland Islands, Oceana has formally requested an investigation be opened to identify the cause of death of a dozen seals at Bogskär skerry.

The bodies of the animals, approximately 4-6 months old, were encountered about 20 meters from the coast of the islet, between seven and 11 meters depth. Dead fish have been documented in the area as well.

Neither Oceana’s team on board the research vessel Hanse Explorer, nor the Baltic experts consulted to date have been able to determine the cause of mortality. Potential explanations include the possibility of poisoning by some type of contaminated fish, toxic compound, or algae, or a viral epidemic. These hypotheses could further examined if the Finnish authorities were able to take tissue samples from the bodies for laboratory testing.

At the same time, Oceana requested the authorities to clarify whether this occurrence has also happened in other parts of the Åland Islands, because Oceana was only able to survey a small area in the region.

The Hanse Explorer is currently working in the Gulf of Bothnia, the northernmost part of the Baltic Sea.


Learn more: Oceana 2012 Baltic Sea Expedition

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