A new concern about baby seals in West Seattle waters: Local residents who asked to be anonymous e-mailed us (and other news organizations) with a claim that a net fishing crew strung its nets “right across one of the most popular haul-out beaches for these pups at Anchor Park … (Other) fishermen … reported they have never seen a net attached to these rocks before this year. Several fishermen witnessed the net had drowned three seal pups. … This is a clear violation of the Marine Mammal Protection Act. We also have photo documentation of this same fisherman pulling a fourth seal pup out of his net. We cannot tell for sure if this particular pup is dead or alive.” Here’s that photo (we have cropped out what looks to be a partial identifying number on the boat, as we are still doing research to find out more about this claim):
The e-mail goes on to say the nets were removed for a while last week, then returned this past Thursday. The residents believe these nets belong to a tribe, but haven’t been able to figure out which one — because of what they say is a conflict over tribal fishing rights in the area. Whoever it belongs to, they say, they are “respectfully asking … to move this net for the next several weeks away from this very popular haul out beach for the pups.” We have e-mail out to the tribe that these residents think owns the net, to see what they can tell us about the situation, and will also be checking with the local federal authorities who have jurisdiction over marine mammals such as the seal pups. 5:10 PM ADDENDUM: 47 minutes after we published this report, this tv site posted a story about the situation suggesting something had happened today (“9 am Saturday”), although for the record, the photo published with their online story is one of two photos that we received from the concerned residents YESTERDAY (Friday afternoon).