They had previously been seen resting on a pipe that was being used for dredging, or on floating sea debris, as the local beaches were often busy with people and the nearby harbour areas too built up from them to stop. However, thanks to a collaboration between the Blankenberge Sea Life Centre and the Coastal Division of the council, the new pontoon opened on Sunday and tourists are being encouraged to go and see the seals from a safe distance. Four seals already permanently live at Blankenberge’s Port de Plaisance.
The Sea Life Centre, which rehabilitates and releases injured animals, has also erected signs which show how to tell if a seal is unwell. Speaking to Flanders Today, the Flemish animal well-being minister Ben Weyts said: “the seals’ well-being was the priority in choosing a location. We were looking for a place where the public would bother the seals as little as possible. But the location still has an attraction for tourists.”