Photo credit: Sea Mammal Research Unit
The Hooded Seal, Cystophora cristata, is listed as ‘VULNERABLE’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened SpeciesTM. This species gets its name from the striking nasal appendage found on adult males. Hooded Seals live at high latitudes in the North Atlantic, where they breed on drifting pack ice before dispersing in northern waters.
Hooded Seals have been commercially hunted for centuries and at times hunting levels have been unsustainable. Currently, the Hooded Seal population in the Northwest Atlantic appears to be stable, but the Northeast Atlantic population has declined markedly. Commercial hunting has likely contributed to the 85% reduction in this population in recent decades, and deterioration of ice conditions within the breeding area is almost certainly contributing. The collapse of stocks of favoured prey such as redfish may also be a factor.
Harvesting nations have employed various conservation measures to achieve sustainable hunting and allow over-harvested populations to recover. These include quota regulations and limitations on hunting gear and seasons. Additionally, international management plans, agreements and treaties have been implemented to conserve populations.
To learn more about the Hooded Seal, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.
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