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Aug 22

1966 Seal Hunters in Morro Bay

01-28-66-lynann-whaler.jpgCaptain Roy J. Bud Newton of the Lynann with a whale gun.

The Lynann was a whaler, converted from a Navy submarine chaser.

January 28, 1966

It wouldn’t happen today.

Using logic that made sense in the 1960’s researchers were killing seals to save them.

Working out of Morro Bay, a trio of marine biologists and the five-man crew of the Lynnann were under a 70-day contract to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Their mission was to capture and examine up to 500 seals off the coast of California.

Today capture means tranquilize, perhaps install a radio collar, take measurements and blood samples. Then it had a different meaning. Quoting from the article:

“Although killing seals is prohibited by federal law, the Lynann, a 136-foot craft, is operating under special orders from a department of the federal government.”

1-28-66-seal-kill-study.jpg01-28-66-whaler.jpg“The biologists are particularly concerned with determining the age of the seal and their reproduction systems. Ages of the seals can best be determined by examination of the teeth biologists said.”

“Although armed with a whale gun – the ship is normally used to capture whales – the crew has found that shotguns are the best method to kill the seals.”

No wonder seals, to this day, swim away when you tell them, “We’re from the government, and we’re here to help.”

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  4. 1959 Cal Photo, Morro and Higuera Streets