Status of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in Atlantic Canada
Keywords:harbour seals, Canada, population status
AbstractHarbour seals are associated with small islets, reefs and rocks exposed at low tide and estuarine habitats throughout eastern Canada. Evidence of harvesting by indigenous people has been found in pre-European contact archaeological excavations. A bounty harvest as well as subsistence and commercial hunting probably lead to a decline in the population from 1949 to the early 1970s. The bounty was removed in 1976, and harbour seals, in the southern parts of their range have been protected since then. There is little information available on total abundance and current population trend. Mitochondrial and microsatellite DNA research has shown separation between Northeast and Northwest Atlantic harbour seals. Within Canada, the subspecies Phoca vitulina concolor shows some population sub-structure with three distinct units that could be separated into Hudson Bay, Gulf of St. Lawrence and Sable Island. Urban development resulting in habitat degradation is probably the most important factor affecting harbour seal populations in AtlanticCanada, although other factors such as incidental catches in commercial fisheries and competition with grey seals may also be important.
How to Cite
Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms:
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).