Seal sightings indicate an ‘exciting’ level of activity

One of the seals in Shoreham Harbour, gobbling up its latest catch of mackerel
One of the seals in Shoreham Harbour, gobbling up its latest catch of mackerel

FEARS one of the seals seen by many river users in Shoreham was dead have proved unfounded.

A concerned passer-by spotted the seal laid out on a rock on Worthing beach and feared it was dead.

But when the foreshore officer investigated, the seal was nowhere to be seen, and it has since been suggested it was simply basking in the sun.

Stephen Savage, regional co-ordinator for the Sea Watch Foundation, said he had continued to receive a lot of seal sightings throughout September.

“The majority have been in the River Arun, but very exciting,” he added.

He said it was the grey seal that had been seen around Littlehampton, so the one in Worthing was more likely to have been the common seal pup, often spotted in the River Adur.

Mr Savage said he regularly checked out reports for British Divers Marine Life Rescue.

“Most reports are actually a seal that is healthy but on the beach, which people are not used to seeing, so report it,” he added.

“I would always prefer to have a false alarm than it not be known and, of course, the sighting has been useful for our records.”

Angler Cyril Crouch, from Shoreham Beach, managed to get a picture of one of the seals in the River Adur last month.

He said the photo was taken from the western breakwater of Shoreham Harbour, close to the harbour mouth.

“The seal was catching more mackerel than us sea anglers,” he added.

Mr Savage said back in 2009, he had worked on a project where seals could contact his mobile phone to show where they were, using an electronic tagging device.

The grey seal had originally appeared in Shoreham but now seemed to be spending much of its time in the River Arun and adjacent sea area.

Numerous sightings and interactions with the public have been reported to Mr Savage, mainly in the lower reaches of the River Arun, but also quite far up river on occasions.

The seal pup was first reported in Shoreham Harbour at the beginning of September and it is possible a third seal is in the area.

Mr Savage said: “It is very exciting to have so much seal activity locally.

“There is certainly plenty of fish in the harbour and the seal pup has been seen feeding.”

To report a sighting, Stephen can be contacted on seawatch17@yahoo.co.uk