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Harbor Seals in Alaska (Phoca vitulina richardii)

Harbor Seal
Harbor Seal (Photo: Mark S. Lowry, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southwest Fisheries Science Center)

Harbor seals are nonmigratory marine mammals found in sub-arctic and temperate waters of the North Atlantic and North Pacific Oceans and contiguous seas. In the North Pacific, their distribution extends from San Ignacio Lagoon, Mexico, around the North Pacific Rim to Hokkaido, Japan, and into the Bering Sea to the Pribilof Islands and northern Bristol Bay. They generally are found near shore in estuaries or protected waters but may range far out to sea in deep pelagic waters or up freshwater rivers and into lakes.

Range and Habitat:

Coastal areas in the North Pacific and North Atlantic

Status under Law:

Not listed

Conservation issues:

Subsistence harvests, interactions with commercial fishing operations, human disturbance at haul-out beaches, disease outbreaks, contaminants

Physical characteristics:

At Birth At Maturity
Length 70-100 cm
11.7-1.9 m
Weight 8-12 kg
(18-26 lb)
130-170 kg
(290-370 lb)


25-35 years

Annual Report:

For more information, see the Harbor Seal section from the 2002 Annual Report

Download a copy: PDF (151 KB)

Commission Letters:

To view Commission letters concerning Harbor Seals choose a date below

March 31, 2003

Additional Links:

National Marine Fisheries Service Stock Assessment Reports

National Marine Fisheries Service - Harbor Seals

Alaska Department of Fish & Game - Harbor Seal

National Marine Mammal Laboratory - Alaska Harbor Seals


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