A review of the status of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in the Northeast United States of America

Gordon T Waring, James R Gilbert, Dana Belden, Amy Van Atten, Robert A DiGiovanni Jr

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7557/3.2685

Keywords

harbour seals;status;United States

Abstract

We conducted a review of the literature and unpublished databases to describe the distribution, abundance, ecology and status of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina concolor) in U.S. Atlantic waters. The harbour seal is the most abundant and widespread seal species in this area. Since passage of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, the number of harbour seals observed during the pupping season in this region has increased from about 10,500 animals in 1981 to 38,000 animals in 2001 (uncorrected counts), an average annual rate of 6.6%. This increase has beenrelatively consistent over the 20 years, and there is no indication that the population size has stabilized. Correspondingly, the seasonal distribution has expanded and interactions between seals and anthropogenic activities have increased.

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Copyright (c) 2010 Gordon T Waring, James R Gilbert, Dana Belden, Amy Van Atten, Robert A DiGiovanni Jr

License URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/