Marine Mammal Science & Conservation

Harbour seal

Harbour seal (Phoca vitulina)

Group formation: Gregarious groups on haul-out places, alone at sea

Size: males 1.9 m, females 1.7 m, calf 65-100 cm

Weight: males 70-150 kg, females 60-110 kg, calf 8-12 kg

Age: males 20-25 yrs, females 30-35 yrs

Gestation: 10-11mths

Sexual maturity: males 6-7 yrs, females 4-5 yrs

Diet: Generalist feeder, variety of fish and invertebrates

Distribution: North Atlantic and North Pacific with local populations. Mostly found in coastal waters.

Norway: small colonies along the coast, in Lofoten no breeding colony exists, only individual harbor seals can be seen feeding.

Population: 350 000 – 500 000

Conservation Status: Least Concern ver 3.1, Pop. trend: stable

Threats: seal hunting (Norway, UK, Iceland, Greenland, US), illnesses, chemical and plastic pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, over fishing.