Altogether seven species of pinnipedia have been spotted in Icelandic waters, the common seal, the grey seal, the ringed seal, the harp seal, the bearded seal, the hooded seal, and the walrus. The common seal and the grey seal breed all around the country, but the others are vagrants. Traditionally, the seals have been hunted in Iceland from the time of settlement for their furs and meat.
The annual catch has fluctuated between four and seven thousand during the last decades, and has diminished considerably during the last few years. The seals were and sometimes still are an issue of debate between the conservationists, fishermen and the fish industry because of their impact on the commercial importance of fish stocks, the damage to fishing gear and their part in the spreading of the cod worm.
The conservationists managed to ruin the economy of the Inuit seal hunters in Greenland and did not hesitate to use falsified film material to do so. Scientific research clearly shows that the populations of the seal species around Iceland are not endangered.
Photo Credit: Andreas Trepte
In common grey seal areas outside Iceland it seems to be polygamous According... more