Seals are increasingly present on the Belgian coast
In 2020, up to 1,900 seals were spotted in our waters and on our beaches. In recent years, stumbling upon a seal while out walking on the Belgian coast is no longer an exceptional event. The latest report by the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Science on the country's sea mammals confirms it: the animal is increasingly present in our country.
This good news is mainly due to two factors. Firstly, the ban on the trade and import of skins and other seal-related products in the EU since 2009. Secondly, the gradual improvement in the quality of the environment. At this level, the restriction on sulphur emissions from boats, a European priority in view of the many consequences on health, may be one explanation for this. Scientists also highlight the decline in toxic industrial components dumped at sea. The improvement of water quality has had positive effects on the immune system and fertility of sea life.
Seals appear to particularly appreciate Nieuwpoort, where about a dozen of them can be seen every year. But they can also be found in other places, such as Ostend, where a group of seals have taken up residence, in Koksijde, and in Zeebrugge. In winter, above all it is the pups that can be spotted on the shores with the latter remaining on dry land until they shed their fur and have enough fat reserves to face the dangers of the ocean.