Harbour seal


Harbour seal
Scientific name:
Phoca vitulina
Coastal waters of the northern hemisphere in the Atlantic and Pacific, also in the western and northern Baltic Sea
Round head, pelage in different colors and with different patches
Weight and size:
Size varies across populations, Atlantic subspecies: Males: 75-104 kg, 153-156 cm in length, females: 67-83 kg, 140-146 cm in length
Approx. 35 years
Fish (herring, sardines, salmon, flatfish, cod), crustaceans, snails, squid, mussels
Grey seals, polar bears, polar foxes, wolves
Threatened by:
Noise pollution, chemical pollution, marine debris (macro debris: entanglements, injuries, internal blockages; micro plastics: immunosuppression), fisheries interactions (bycatch, entanglements, collisions, fish stock depletion), disturbance (social behaviours, communication, feeding, breading), habitat degradation and loss, hunting (Canada, Iceland, Norway, Russia, Finland, Sweden, Greenland and for protection of fishing gear in Denmark)
IUCN red list status:
Least concern
Special features:
One of the most widely distributed species of pinniped
Recent research projects:
Germany, 2016, Kakuschke, researchers are investigating toxic pollutants in the blood of seals on Helgoland and in the Baltic Sea
Netherlands, 2013, Rebolledo, researchers examine stomachs of seals and could find plastic particles