News and opinion

Meet the seals who only eat sustainable fish

August 4, 2015

A seal trainer feeding a seal MSC label fish.

A seal trainer feeding a seal MSC label fish.

At Stockholm’s open air museum and zoo, Skansen, grey seal Amanda and her friends only eat sustainable fish. As of summer 2015 the attraction’s resident marine mammals are fed MSC certified sustainable herring exclusively.

For Skansen becoming a more sustainable, environmentally friendly site is something that involves everyone, including its animals. It joins a handful of pioneering zoos and aquaria in Europe who have moved to serving certified feed.

While the attraction’s traditional Swedish restaurant Gubbhyllan was also certified this year, it was Amanda who stole the show at a celebratory event.

Amanda was born in 1997 in the wild and found as motherless pup. Since her rescue she’s lived at Skansen together with her friends Clara, Isa and Isa’s son Quling, who Amanda likes to boss around.

Seals typically eat a lot of herring in their North Sea and Baltic habitats and Skansen’s seals get through a lot of fish. Amanda and her grey seal chums consume between 5 and 6 kg per day, while the zoo’s common/harbour seals eat around 3 – 5 kg. Fortunately, there’s a plentiful, sustainable supply on hand.

“Oh, three buckets of sustainable herring just for me?” Quling gets lucky

Sustainable source

The seal’s meals are served from MSC labelled buckets and are currently sourced from the Swedish North Sea herring fishery. The fishery has been twice certified to the MSC Fisheries Standard. Its careful controls have ensured a continued supply not just for us and the Skansen seals but also Amanda’s relations in the wild.

Video (in Swedish)

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