Friday, March 15, 2013

Harbor Seals Visit NJ and We Visit Them

Just last week a commenter on this blog asked where to see harbor seals in New Jersey. Although there is no designated hot spot for seal watching, they are spotted at this time of year all along our coast and in some rivers.

This week the staff at the New Jersey Meadowlands Commission even spotted one on the rowing docks at River Barge Park along the Hackensack River.

2010 visitor at the Hoboken Terminal  via

"People say they see them from time to time, but I've been here the last five years and this is first I've seen one," said Jim Wright, a communications officer with the commission.

The Marine Mammal Stranding Center becomes involved when seals are injured or stranded, but finds that most reports of sightings are healthy animals.

This year the generally mild weather has kept seals away from our waters. Normally, they will need to venture south in the Atlantic Ocean toward NJ in the winter in search of food. It is not that rare that they will even go up rivers like the Hackensack. Their preferred catch is herring and mackerel.

If you're in search of a more reliable spotting, you could go to Adventure Aquarium in Camden   When I visited a few years ago their were three gray seals and three harbor seals. Both species are native to New Jersey.

At the Jenkinson’s Aquarium in Point Pleasant Beach, seals are part of the 300 species that were able to ride out Superstorm Sandy. Seals and other air-breathing animals such as monkeys and penguins can handle no power situations, and the staff was most concerned for the animal in their tanks that require water that is filtered of waste and freshly re-oxygenated. The aquarium reopened on February 1st for this year.

In fact, they are having a Seal-abration this Saturday, March 16th from 2-3:30pm for the birthdays of their harbor seals: Luseal, Coral, and Seaquin! You and your kids can celebrate with crafts and cake while you watch the seals get a special birthday snack. Pre-registration is required and is for ages 5 and up for $15 per person. The aquarium is located at 300 Ocean Ave. in Point Pleasant Beach, NJ(732.892.0600 ext. 130 and

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