Nordic Seals

Heiti verkefnis: Nordic Seals

Samstarfsaðilar: Sjókovin (Faroe Islands), Fisheries and Marine Institute - Memorial University of Newfoundland (Canada), EFFOP - European Fishmeal and fish oil producers (Europe), FF Skagen (Denmark), Scandic Pelagic (Denmark), Marine Ingredients (Denmark) and as associated partner NAMMCO - North Atlantic Marine Mammal Commission.

Rannsóknasjóður: Working Group for Fisheries (AG-Fisk) - Nordic counsil

Upphafsár: 2021




Jónas Rúnar Viðarsson


What are the effects of seal populations on the ecosystem and economy? How can seal populations be managed?

Seal hunting used to be an important industry in many Nordic countries a few decades ago, as seal hunters from Norway, Finland, Greenland, Denmark, Iceland, Russia and Canada harvested hundreds of thousands of seals every year. This industry became heavily criticized in the 1980s as animal welfare issues started to be raised. Around the turn of the century the seal hunting had become politically and socially unacceptable, which had effects on markets for the products, making it difficult for commercial seal hunting to continue. Seal hunting in the North Atlantic has now been almost non-existent for the past two decades. But what effects has this change in utilization of seals had on the ecosystem and economy of those affected by seal populations?

The Nordic seals project is a network program which is to gather, analyze and disseminate information on the seal populations in the North-Atlantic, Arctic and adjacent waters. The project will in particular aim to:

  • Gather facts about seal populations and distribution in the N-Atlantic, Arctic, and adjacent waters (e.g. North Sea, Baltic, Skagerrak, Kattegat etc.)
  • Examine the effects of seal populations on the ecosystem (pray-predator relationships with other species)
  • Study the effects of the seal populations on the Nordic seafood industry,
  • Identify means of controlling seal populations, including sustainable harvesting,
  • Identify potential products and markets, whilst considering barriers such as animal welfare, policy and political correctness, food safety and toxins.

The Nordic Seals project is a small network program which is intended to facilitate discussions among key stakeholders. The project´s main outputs are:

The project finished in 2024.