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Research article2021Peer reviewedOpen access

Seal interactions and exits from fisheries: insights from the Baltic Sea cod fishery

Blomquist, Johan; Waldo, Staffan


The number of seals in the Baltic Sea has increased dramatically in recent years. While growing seal populations are associated with a thriving marine environment, seals interact with coastal fisheries causing significant damages to catches and gears. One fishery that is severely affected is the coastal cod fishery where the negative impact of seals is believed by many to threaten the existence of the fishery. This article empirically investigates to what extent seal damages can explain the declining number of fishing vessels active in the Baltic Sea coastal cod fishery. The analysis makes use of detailed logbook data and statistical survival models to estimate the effect of seal interactions with fishing gears on the exit probability of vessels in the Swedish cod fishery. The results show that seal interactions is an important factor explaining exits, suggesting that total losses caused by seals go beyond observed costs of broken gears and damaged catches.


Baltic Sea; coastal fisheries; seal damages; survival analysis

Published in

ICES Journal of Marine Science
2021, Volume: 78, number: 8, pages: 2958-2966