Signed, sealed, delivered | Furry foray to Montague Island

In Australia, brown fur seals are found around the islands of Bass Strait and South Australia, Tasmania, southern Victoria and southern New South Wales, such as Montague Island.

They are excellent swimmers, diving to depths of 130 m in search of fish and large invertebrate prey.

Long-nosed fur seals are also called New Zealand fur seals, as they are mostly found around southern Australia and New Zealand.

The Australian and New Zealand populations of long-nosed fur seals show some genetic differences, but they are still classed as a single species.

Both species were hunted to near-extinction for their soft fur coats during the 18th, 19th and early 20th Centuries.

It is estimated that more than 1.5 million brown seals were killed, with around 20,000 remaining in the 1920s.

They are excellent swimmers, diving to depths of 130 m in search of fish and large invertebrate prey.

Jen Thompson

Today, the brown fur seal is the world's fourth rarest species of seal.

In Commonwealth waters, brown and long-nosed fur seals are protected by the Commonwealth Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.

In New South Wales, the Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016 lists the brown fur seal and long-nosed fur seal as vulnerable.

Although both species are protected in all waters, the marine sanctuary zone at Montague Island gives them a more secure area in which to breed, with healthier fish populations to support them.

An enormous thank you from all who participated in the seal snorkels and to Clover and Franois from Underwater Safaris at Narooma for providing such a special experience.

HAPPY HABITAT: A brown fur seal colony on the northern tip of Montague Island. Photo: Jen Thompson.

HAPPY HABITAT: A brown fur seal colony on the northern tip of Montague Island. Photo: Jen Thompson.

UP CLOSE: A long-nosed fur seal in its element. Photo: Jen Thompson

UP CLOSE: A long-nosed fur seal in its element. Photo: Jen Thompson

DANCE OF SEALS: Seals are social creatures, in and out of the water. Photo: Jen Thompson.

DANCE OF SEALS: Seals are social creatures, in and out of the water. Photo: Jen Thompson.

The Nature Coast Marine Group is a community organisation promoting the protection, enjoyment and understanding of coastal, estuarine and marine environments on the Far South Coast of NSW.

The group helps people to learn about the marine environment by organizing enjoyable outings to rock shelves, rocky reefs, beaches, mangrove forests and other marine environments

It provides opportunities for snorkelling, diving, kayaking, whale watching and other activities.

It also contributes to scientific research through marine life surveys done by snorkelling, scuba diving and other methods.

The group also introduces children to their marine environment, in cooperation with local schools, the Eurobodalla Shire Council and the Marine Park Authority. Talks and film screenings are also held.

For more information email info@ncmg.org.au

Comments