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Seals around Iceland

About Seals around Iceland

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.

  • COMMON or HARBOUR SEAL
  • GREY SEAL or HORSE HEAD SEAL
  • HOODED SEAL
  • HARP SEAL
  • BEARDED SEAL
  • WALRUS
  • RINGED SEAL

Photo Credit: Andreas Trepte

Articles in Seals around Iceland

Common Seal

The common seal or the harbour seal gets 2 m long and weighs up to 150 kg It... more

Grey Seal or Horse Head Seal

In common grey seal areas outside Iceland it seems to be polygamous According... more

Hooded Seal

The hooded seal’s primary habitats are around Greenland and Newfoundland It... more

Harp Seal

The harp seal’s habitats are mostly in the Arctic Ocean on both sides of... more

Bearded Seal

The bearded seal’s habitats are mainly scattered all over the Arctic Ocean It... more

Walrus

In earlier times there was only one breed of walruses It developed in different... more

Ringed Seal

The ringed seal’s primary habitat is the northern Arctic Ocean It also exists... more