"There is a high probability that Atlantic cod will be locally extinct in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence by mid-century — even with no commercial fishing, according to a new report.
"Since the late '90s none of the other hypotheses really had support except for the possibility the high natural mortality is due to predation by grey seals," says Swain.
The Gulf grey seal population grew to 100,000 in 2014 from about 8,000 in 1960. In summer, they gather everywhere from Nova Scotia's Pictou Island to the Magdalen Islands of Quebec.
"In these projections, if we assume natural mortality were to stay where it is now and there was no fishing, then cod would be gone by middle of the century," he says."
via CBC NS