ST. JOHN'S, N.L. -- Ottawa is establishing a research team to study the impact of seals on fish populations in Atlantic Canada.

Federal Fisheries Minister Jonathan Wilkinson Wednesday announced the creation of the Atlantic seal science task team.

A statement from the department said the work is meant to ensure management decisions for seals and sea lions are made with the best available science, in order to sustain "healthy and productive" ecosystems.

Fisheries and Oceans Canada says the announcement comes in response to concerns from harvesters about seal predation of commercial fish stocks.

The new team will provide input on the federal Atlantic seal science program, look at ways to apply technology to research, involve the fishing industry more in seal research and advise how communications between the federal department and the fishing industry can be improved.

The team will be chaired by a Fisheries and Oceans official and Glenn Blackwood, vice-president of Memorial University's Fisheries and Marine Institute.

Six to 10 people from the fishing industry and other groups with expertise in Atlantic fisheries will participate for up to one year, with the names of participants to be finalized in the coming weeks.