Harbor Seal

Page - January 16, 2008
Estimated Population: 400-500,0000

Indeterminate Status Canadian Species At Risk List


Ways to identify this species:
two coloration patterns- dark with light rings or light colored with dark splotches

Biology

  • The harbor seals habitat is distributed throughout the Northern Pacific and Atlantic Ocean; in Alaska along the coast from British Columbia north to Kuskokwim Bay and west throughout the Aleutian Islands.  They do not appear to be migratory although significant local movements up to 150 miles do occur.
  • These seals are capable of diving 600 ft. and staying submerged for over 20 minutes. 
  • The diet of the harbor seal consists of fish including pollock, squid and octopus


Threats

  • Alaskan population of harbor seals has dangerously declined in last three decades. At Tugidak Island, near Kodiak, numbers have declined 90% from approximately 11,000 seals to 1,000 since 1970.
  • Hunting of the harbor seal still occurs in Iceland and Norway.
  • Fisherman are often frustrated when seals remove salmon from nets.  Seals can also sometimes be killed or injured when they become caught in nets.

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