Marine Mammal Science & Conservation

Grey seal


Grey seal (Halichoerus grypus)

Group formation: Gregarious groups

Size: males 2.5-3.3 m, females 1.6-2 m, calf 90-105 cm

Weight: males 170-310 kg, females 100-190 kg, calf 10-18 kg (born September-November)

Age: males 25 yrs, females 35 yrs

Gestation: 11 mths

Sexual maturity: males 8-10 yrs, females 3-5 yrs

Diet: Generalist feeder, variety of fish and invertebrates

Distribution: 3 populations, North east and west Atlantic, with colonies along the coast of US and Canada, UK, Ireland, Iceland, Norway and the Baltic Sea.

Norway: small colonies along the coast, in Lofoten only few gathering places during summer and breeding places in the winter, around Henningsvaer 5-10 grey seals gather every summer on a small island.

Population: ca 50 000

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

Threats: seal hunting (Norway, Sweden, Finland), chemical and plastic pollution, entanglement in fishing gear, over fishing.