Because of their huge numbers in our ecosystem, there will be a harp seal population count around Newfoundland and Labrador this spring. Department of Fisheries and Oceans says this will be the first scientific count since 2012.

DFO scientist Gary Stenson says the seals never stay in one place at the same time, so estimating their numbers needs the development of a population model with such data on catches and reproductive rates. Although this information is available annually, about every four or five years DFO will do a count of the number of pups being born.

Stenson says their scientists cover a huge area in a limited amount of time. The numbers went from about 800,000 pups in 2004, to 1.6-million in 2008, then back down to 800,000 in 2012, the last time they were counted.