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Regional News

Seal Spotted Near Western Massachusetts Dam Likely Following The Fish

A seal below the Holyoke Dam, which spans the Connecticut River between Holyoke and South Hadley, Massachusetts.
Mike Lamontagne
/
via MassWildlife
A seal below the Holyoke Dam, which spans the Connecticut River between Holyoke and South Hadley, Massachusetts.

Fishermen this week spotted a harbor seal on the Connecticut River, just south of the Holyoke Dam. Marine life experts say it's just following the fish.

The seal could be identified because it had a satellite tag, showing it was released in January in Rhode Island. That's after it was abandoned by its mother as a baby and rehabilitated at the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut.

Tony LaCasse with the New England Aquarium in Boston, which received calls about the animal,  said it appears to be doing well. 

"The pictures that we saw of him feeding, he's clearly feeding on shad," LaCasse said. "Right now there's enormous numbers of shad that are still queued below the Holyoke Dam, because the water levels are really high. And so they've had difficulty moving further up the river to be able to spawn and so he's got really easy pickings there right now."

The aquarium sent a team to look for the seal on Thursday, but could not find it.

LaCasse cautioned that boaters on the Connecticut should not try to get too close to the seal or to feed it. He's also asking that boats on the river south of the Holyoke Dam slow down.

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