Conference 2017 – Expedition Cruising

AH18 October 16, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Creating Ambassadors: Expedition Cruising Helps Secure the Future of Sable Island” Allow us to introduce Cedar Swan, an adventurer and passionate outdoor enthusiast. The CEO of Adventure Canada—as well as an expedition planner…

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Conference 2017 – Seeking Sable’s Lost Wrecks:

AH18 October 15, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Seeking Sable’s Lost Wrecks: Following a Digital Paper Trail” With some 350 ships thought to have wrecked on Sable Island, it’s sometimes called “The Graveyard of the Atlantic”. At our conference, Bill…

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Conference 2017 – Marine Debris and Micro Plastics

AH18 October 14, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Atlantic Canada Microplastics Research Project” Marine debris and micro plastics. Unpleasant for sure, but what does the research tell us? Ariel Smith, MEnv, is the Marine Debris Project Coordinator at Bluenose Coastal Action Foundation…

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Conference 2017 – Sable Island Horse Research

AH18 October 13, 2017

Confirmed presentation for Saturday October 21st: “Population Ecology of the Sable Island Horses”  Sable Island’s most famous inhabitants are its horses. And here’s the man who may understand them the best.Philip D. McLoughlin is an Associate Professor…

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Thank You Bill Freedman

October 28, 2015

It was sad to hear of the passing of Bill Freedman in late September 2015.…

AGM 2015 Recap

June 25, 2015

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2015 Annual General Meeting on June 24th at the…

Conference Thanks

June 2, 2015

One month ago today we opened the first Sable Island Conference. It was exciting to…

D-1: “Ecological footprints of grey seals on and off Sable Island” – W. D. Bowen


Grey seals numbers were reduced by hunting to the point of being considered rare in eastern North America through the 1950s. The largest grey seal breeding colony is now located on Sable Island. In the early 1960s, several hundred pups were born on the island. Since then the numbers of pups born has increased exponentially and by 2010 some 62,000 were born. Estimates birth and survival rates, from long-term observations on marked individuals, coupled with estimates of pup production from aerial photographic survey are used to estimate Sable Island herd at about 500,000 in 2013. Reproductive performance of females improves with age but senescence is evident in females in their late twenties and older. Survival rates of adults are high, but drop off rapidly in males aged 20+ and in females aged 30+ years. Adults fitted with satellite tags and from which blubber biopsies were taken provide an understanding of the foraging distribution and diet. Males and females exhibit strong seasonally-dependent, sex segregation in foraging distribution and diet with males using deeper and more seaward areas to the southwest of Sable Island and females using area shoreward and to the northeast. Along with population size these data provide an estimate of population prey consumption and the growing ecological foot print of this large predator on and off the Island. Sable isotope analysis indicates that grey transport significant quantities of marine nutrient to the island through faeces and carcasses which influence the flora and ultimately the horses of Sable Island.