Seasonal distribution of harp seals (Phoca groenlandica) in the Barents Sea

  • Tore Haug
  • Kjell Tormod Nilssen
  • Nils Øien
  • Vladimir Potelov


The distributional patterns of Barents Sea harp seals (Phoca groenlandica) throughout the year are presented based on existing literature and recent Norwegian and Russian field observations. The harp seals breed in February-March in the White Sea. Moulting occurs during April to June in the White Sea and southern Barents Sea. Feeding.behaviour is closely related to the configuration and localisation of the drifting sea-ice during summer and autumn (June-October) when the seals follow the receding ice edge, retiring gradually northwards and northeastwards in the Barents Sea. The southward movement of the population in autumn probably takes place in November prior to the advance of the ice edge, and is likely related to food-search. Apparently, most Barents Sea harp seals seems to concentrate at the southern end of their range in winter and spring.


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How to Cite
Haug, T., Tormod Nilssen, K., Øien, N., & Potelov, V. (1994). Seasonal distribution of harp seals (Phoca groenlandica) in the Barents Sea. Polar Research, 13(2), 163-172.
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