9. In the first year of the moratorium, some DFO scientists suggested that perhaps a major portion of the stock had retreated to such depths that they were missed by that year's assessment survey. A variant of this was that they had moved north under the ice pack. The credibility of "the fish are hiding" theory was never very strong and dissipated entirely as subsequent surveys failed to find them. It was succeeded by the Scold water theory" which held that an increase in the breadth and depth of the Cold Intermediate Layer of water of the Labrador Current and a decrease in its temperature had caused a massive point event in natural mortality--either directly through freezing the fish to death or indirectly by blocking them from their summer inshore feeding migrations and, thus, starving them to death. One problem with this theory was the absence of bodies. Major cold-water kills had been observed in the past with offshore skippers reporting steaming through miles of floating dead cod. A third theory, currently the subject of highly-charged debate, attributes the continuing collapse of the northern cod to the burgeoning seal populations, either directly through predation or indirectly through competition for food.