Pup Production of Harp Seals, Pagophilus groenlandicus, in the Northwest Atlantic

Six species of seals inhabit Canadian waters but only two (harps and hoods) contribute to the commercial sealing industry. The harp is the main species harvested because of its easier accessibility and greater numbers. Harp seals weigh approximately 11 kg. at birth and 130 kg. as adults. Summers are spent north and in spring they give birth and mate in southern Atlantic Canadian waters. While each animal consumes approximately 1.5 metric tonnes of food annually, diet details are scanty since they vary widely over time and space. The 1952 population estimate was three million declining to 1.5 million by the early 1970’s and was 4.8 million in the last survey in 1994. Pup production during 1994 was estimated in the order of 703,000. Replacement yield, which is the number of seals that can be harvested without changing the total population, is approximately 287,000.


Animal welfare respected in seal hunt: Study
November 6th, 2012. (Sun News Media) OTTAWA — A pair of researchers — one Canadian and one Australian — have given the much-maligned seal hunt a seal of approval. In a new study published in the Animal Welfare journal, two veterinarians conclude that “based on current practices, there is no reliable evidence that the Canadian harp seal hunt differs from other forms of exploitation of wildlife resources from the perspective of animal welfare.” Full article here.