Seals at home in Den Helder canal

Seals at home in Den Helder canals

QUITE COMFORTABLE: DEN Seals are at home in Den Helder canals Photo credit: Flickr/Ian Carvell

Den Helder is the home of Holland’s naval base, the Royal Naval College and the Admiralty Building.

Its canal is also home to two seals who are in trouble because they are feasting on the fish, a local fishing club complained.

Five years back, a pregnant seal entered Den Helder’s inland water network through one of the locks and after giving birth to a pup neither mother nor offspring has shown any interest in leaving.

Hans Koopman from the HSV Angling Club, which organises annual competitions, explained to local broadcaster NH that members spend €4,000 each year on stocking the canal with fish, which the seals demolish at the rate of four kilos a day.

Irritatingly, they often decide not to eat the entire fish but merely take a bite out of it, before moving on to the next one.

“Fish stocks are completely destroyed,” Koopman said. “Just move the seals out to sea.”

The association has asked on several occasions to have the seals removed, but the Pieterburen seal sanctuary, which is both a rehabilitation and research centre, can only do so if the request comes through a local authority, a spokesperson said.

The sanctuary also explained that it was not unusual for these marine mammals to swim in canals.

“Seals often swim in inland waters. So long as they look healthy, there is no reason to move them.”

As responsibility lies with the municipality in question, the Pieterburen shelter steps in only when animals are in need of assistance.

When that  happens, moving a seal is not easy.  “Seals cannot be lured,” the spokesperson told the employee said to the Noordhollands Dagblad newspaper.

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Written by

Linda Hall

Originally from the UK, Linda is based in Valenca and is a reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering local news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at