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Harp Seals - White Sea and Barent Sea, 2008
Marine Resource  Fact Sheet
ICES Advice 2009
Harp Seals - White Sea and Barent Sea, 2008
Fact Sheet Citation  
Harp Seals - White Sea and Barent Sea
Owned byInternational Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES) – More
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Species:
FAO Names: en - Harp seal, fr - Phoque du Groenland, es - Foca de Groenlandia, ar - فُقمة غرويلاند, zh - 琴海豹, ru - Тюлень гренландский (=лысун)
Geographic extent of Harp Seals - White Sea and Barent Sea
Main Descriptors
Considered a single stock: No        Spatial Scale: Sub-Regional
Management unit: Yes
 
 
Habitat and Biology
Depth zone: Coastal (0 m - 50 m).   Vertical distribution: Pelagic.  

Geographical Distribution
Jurisdictional distribution: Shared between nations

Water Area Overview
Spatial Scale: Sub-Regional

Geo References
Resource Structure
Considered a single stock: No
Assessment
 
Overall Assessment Results

Population estimates

Estimates were available for harp seal pup production (Table 3.3.3.3.7); however, the traditional WGHARP model was unable to capture the sudden drop in pup production, and, therefore, was only used to find a multiplier for scaling the pup production in order to obtain the population size. A multiplier of 7 was used; hence a population estimate of 861728 was obtained.


Table 3.3.3.3.7. Survey estimates of White Sea/Barents Sea harp seal pup production.
Year Estimate c.v.
1998 286 260 0.07
2000 322 474 0.09
2001 339 710 0.10
2002 330 000 0.10
2003 327 000 0.13
2004 233 000 0.15
2005 122 400 0.16
2008 123 104 0.20


Management
Management unit: Yes

Management Objectives

Catch data

Catches (Table 3.3.3.3.8) have remained significantly less than the quota (Table 3.3.3.3.6) since 1993.

Catch options

Data for the White Sea and Barents Sea harp seal stock was poor, and the catch model was considered unreliable to estimate the impact of future catches. Therefore, catch options should be based on the use of the Potential Biological Removals (PBR) approach (ICES, 2006a). It was regarded appropriate to set the recovery factor (Fr) to 0.5 given the unexplained sudden drop of the observed pup production and data limitations (Wade and Angliss, 1997). Using the CV = 0.20 from the pup production estimate to obtain an estimate of Nmin = 729367, a PBR level of removal would be 21881 animals in the White Sea and Barents Sea. This assumes that the age structure of the removals is proportional to the age composition of the population (i.e. 14% pups). A catch consisting of a higher proportion of pups would be more conservative, but a multiplier to convert 1+ year-old animals to pups is inappropriate.

The fit of the available population model for the White Sea/Barents Sea harp seal population was too poor to allow for a reliable assessment of the impact of the three catch options under consideration by Norway (i.e., current harvest level, sustainable level, twice sustainable level).


Table 3.3.3.3.8. Catches of harp seals in the White and Barents Seas (“East Ice”), 1946–2008a,b.
Year Norwegian catches Russian catches Total catches
  Pups 1 year and older Total Pups 1 year and older Total Pups 1 year and older Total
1946–50     25057 90031 55285 145316     170373
1951–55     19590 59190 65463 124653     144243
1956–60 2278 14093 16371 58824 34605 93429 61102 48698 109800
1961–65 2456 8311 10767 46293 22875 69168 48749 31186 79935
1966–70     12783 21186 410 21596     34379
1971 7028 1596 8624 26666 1002 27668 33694 2598 36292
1972 4229 8209 12438 30635 500 31135 34864 8709 43573
1973 5657 6661 12318 29950 813 30763 35607 7474 43081
1974 2323 5054 7377 29006 500 29506 31329 5554 36883
1975 2255 8692 10947 29000 500 29500 31255 9192 40447
1976 6742 6375 13117 29050 498 29548 35792 6873 42665
1977 3429 2783 6212c 34007 1488 35495 37436 4271 41707
1978 1693 3109 4802 30548 994 31542 32341 4103 36344
1979 1326 12205 13531 34000 1000 35000 35326 13205 48531
1980 13894 1308 15202 34500 2000 36500 48394 3308 51702
1981 2304 15161 17465d 39700 3866 43566 42004 19027 61031
1982 6090 11366 17456 48504 10000 58504 54594 21366 75960
1983 431 17658 18089 54000 10000 64000 54431 27658 82089
1984 2091 6785 8876 58153 6942 65095 60244 13727 73971
1985 348 18659 19007 52000 9043 61043 52348 27702 80050
1986 12859 6158 19017 53000 8132 61132 65859 14290 80149
1987 12 18988 19000 42400 3397 45797 42412 22385 64797
1988 18 16580 16598 51990 2501e 54401 51918 19081 70999
1989 0 9413 9413 30989 2475 33464 30989 11888 42877
1990 0 9522 9522 30500 1957 32457 30500 11479 41979
1991 0 9500 9500 30500 1980 32480 30500 11480 41980
1992 0 5571 5571 28351 2739 31090 28351 8310 36661
1993 0 8758f 8758 31000 500 31500 31000 9258 40258
1994 0 9500 9500 30500 2000 32500 30500 11500 42000
1995 260 6582 6842 29144 500 29644 29404 7082 36486
1996 2910 6611 9521 31000 528 31528 33910 7139 41049
1997 15 5004 5019 31319 61 31380 31334 5065 36399
1998 18 814 832 13350 20 13370 13368 834 14202
1999 173 977 1150 34850 0 34850 35023 977 36000
2000 2253 4104 6357 38302 111 38413 40555 4215 44770
2001 330 4870 5200 39111 5 39116 39441 4875 44316
2002 411 1937 2348 34187 0 34187 34598 1937 36535
2003 2343 2955 5298 37936 0 37936 40279 2955 43234
2004 0 33 33 0 0 0 0 33 33
2005 1162 7035 8197 14258 19 14277 15488 9405 22474
2006 147 9939 10086 7005 102 7107 7152 10041 17193
2007 242 5911 6153 5276 200 5476 5518 6111 11629
2008 g 0 0 0 13331 0 13331 13331 0 13331

a For the period 1946–1970 only 5-year averages are given.

b Incidental catches of harp seals in fishing gear on Norwegian and Murman coasts are not included (see Table 6).

c Approx. 1300 harp seals (unspecified age) caught by one ship lost are not included.

d An additional 250–300 animals were shot but lost as they drifted into Soviet territorial waters.

e Russian catches of 1+ animals after 1987 selected by scientific sampling protocols.

f Included 717 seals caught to the south of Spitsbergen, east of 14°E, by one ship which mainly operated in the Greenland Sea.



Table 3.3.3.3.9. Summary of sealing regulations for the White and Barents Seas (“East Ice”), 1979–2008.1
Year Opening Dates Closing Date Quota-Allocation
  Soviet/Rus. Norway   Total Soviet/Rus. Norway
1979–80 1 March 23 March 30 April3 50 0004 34 000 16 000
1981 - - - 60 000 42 500 17 500
1982 - - - 75 000 57 500 17 500
1983 - - - 82 000 64 000 18 000
1984 - - - 80 000 62 000 18 000
1985–86 - - - 80 000 61 000 19 000
1987 - - 20 April3 80 000 61 000 19 000
1988 - - - 70 000 53 400 16 600
1989–94 - - - 40 000 30 500 9 500
1995 - - - 40 000 31 250 8 7505
1996 - - - 40 000 30 500 9 500
1997–98 - - - 40 000 35 000 5 000
1999 - - - 21 4006 16 400 5 000
2000 27 February - - 27 7006 22 700 5 000
2001–02 - - - 53 0006 48 000 5 000
2003 - - - 53 0006 43 000 10 000
2004–05       45 1006 35 100 10 000
2006 - - - 78 2006 68 200 10 000
2007 - - - 78 2006 63 200 15 000
2008 - - - 55 1006 45 100 10 000

1 Quotas and other regulations prior to 1979 are reviewed by Benjaminsen (1979).

2 Hooded, bearded, and ringed seals protected from catches by ships.

3 The closing date may be postponed until 10 May if necessitated by weather or ice conditions.

4 Breeding females protected (all years).

5 Included 750 weaned pups under permit for scientific purposes.

6 Quotas given in 1+ animals, parts of or the whole quota could be taken as pups, where 2.5 pups equalled one 1+ animal.



Biological State and Trend
Exploitation rate: Undefined
Abundance level: Undefined

The adult population is close to the lowest observed in the historical time-series. Based on Russian surveys during 1998–2008, the stock in 2008 is estimated to be 861728 animals of all age classes.

The total catch was 13331 pups in 2008. This represented 24% of the quota allocated between Russia and (45 100 and 10 000 seals, respectively). All of the 2008 harvest was taken by .
Source of information
 
ICES.2009.Report of the ICES Advisory Committee, 2009. ICES Advice, 2009.
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