We are pleased to announce that we tagged three young bearded seals on the Koyuk River, near Koyuk, AK, from 20 to 22 September. The bearded seals were captured, tagged, and released by Merlin Henry, a trained hunter-tagger from Koyuk, Merlin's grandson Jeremiah Henry, Ryan Adam (ADF&G), and myself (ADF&G). We deployed a CTD and flipper (SPOT) tag on all three seals. Merlin has helped capture, tag, and release twelve bearded seals during the past four years.
During the last 10 days we have received locations for 5 bearded, 2 ringed, and 7 spotted seals. Two of the three bearded seals tagged last week near Koyuk have left the Koyuk River and entered Norton Sound. The third bearded seal has moved up the Koyuk River. The two ringed seals have moved north of the 200 meter isopleth in the northern Chukchi Sea; of particular note, RS17-01-M (red triangle), has moved 330 miles north of this isopleth. The bearded seal tagged near Koyuk in September of 2016 (BS16-07-F, yellow square) is still located on the Serpentine River, east of Shishmaref. The three spotted seals tagged near Scammon Bay in July are still in the eastern Bering Sea. Sea ice data are courtesy of the U.S. National Ice Center, dated 25 September (https://earthdata.nasa.gov/earth-observation-data/near-real-time/rapid-response/modis-subsets).