Seal Chews Down $3,700 Worth of Fish Leading to Lake Closure

A seal got its king-size food cravings satisfied and the consequences of the dining experience weren’t ideal. The seal’s meal, consisting of $3,700 worth of fish, forced the closure of a fishing lake. It was a lengthy menu with carp, bream, and catfish.

The seal is known as Nelson for its single-eye blindness but despite its poor vision, it has managed to dodge the nets twice. For about a month, the RSPCA, Essex rural police, and British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) are still attempting to safely rescue Nelson.

When the seal gets tired of the old sea creatures, it occasionally snacks on the local duck population.

Rochford District Council, Nick North, of Marks Hall Fisheries, has been the license holder of the reservoir for more than a decade. North shut off the lake after temperatures dropped low and the lake was frozen. On the day of the closure, the seal made its appearance and it was first spotted submerged in the water.

“It’s ridiculous. It’s ruining my business,” North said. “It could probably get out if it wanted to but it won’t go. It’s got never-ending food supplies.”

He added: “It’s not made for fresh water. Even though it’s ruining my business. It’s still part of nature I suppose, just an unwanted part.”

Simon Dennis, a Marine rescuer, told the seal needed to be captured for its own wellbeing. “It will have wandered up an inlet and got itself stuck in the reservoir,” Dennis said. “But now it probably has no incentive to leave as it found itself in a branch of Waitrose and it is munching its way through the fish.”

Dennis and his team are working in conjunction with the council, the Environment Agency and Essex Police’s wildlife team to rescue the seal.

“We do want this animal to be relocated as much as the angling community do — it cannot exhibit normal ‘seal’ behaviour on its own (they are social, colony animals) and all agencies involved do appreciate the detrimental effect on the other species in the lake,” BDMLR said.