If you're a fan of surströmming, a Swedish fermented herring delicacy that even its fans call 'stinky,' you may want to get some while you can. The seals are beating you to it.
A sharp rise in the seal population in the Gulf of Bothnia and the Stockholm Archipelago is leading to a big drop in herring catches, since they are a prime food source for the marine mammals, who are now up to about 25,000 in the area and gaining about a thousand a year.
Sven-Gunnar Lunneryd, a seal researcher at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sceinces, told Swedish broadcaster SVT that “We have an explosion of seals. It's urgent that politicians wake up and take this seriously. We need to find solutions where we can manage or hunt seals in a responsible way, and try and find a balance between seals and humans.”
Surströmming is made by adding a small amount of salt, just enough to prevent outright rot, to herring filets, which are then aged in barrels for six months or more. The flavor that results is described as intense and fizzy. Japanese fermentation scholars say it is one of the most intense food smells in the world.