DFO fisheries officer Jim Clair holds a tote containing a young seal pup

Seal pup plucked from bay

Local fisheries officers waded into Hardy Bay last week to rescue a seal pup in apparent distress.

PORT HARDY—Local fisheries officers waded into Hardy Bay last week to rescue a seal pup in apparent distress and kept it overnight before it was sent to the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre at Vancouver Aquarium the following day.

Port Hardy’s Fisheries and Oceans office was called the afternoon of Aug. 21 when a young seal was spotted struggling just offshore in front of Carrot Park.

Two officers responded, and Jim Clair eventually walked nearly waist-deep into the bay to scoop the young pup with a large fishing net. Once secured, the pup, a young male named Bandit by staff, was placed in a tote and taken to the fisheries office for overnight observation and treatment.

It was flown the following day to Vancouver, where it was renamed Neptune and found to have an issue with its eyes.

“Both (eyes) are somewhat opaque and cloudy,” said Lindsaye Akhurst of the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre. “He seemed in pain, had a hard time keeping them open. Light seemed to bother him.”

Akhurst said Neptune is a bit older than most seals taken in by the centre this time of year, and was already feeding on fish. He is eating well and on pain medication, but centre staff remains unclear about what is causing the eye issue.

“He’s stabilized and seems to be doing well,” Akhurst said. “Now we just have to see what we can do with those eyes.”