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Trends in catches of harp phoca groenlandica and hooded seals cystophora cristata in greenland 1939 1983


, : Trends in catches of harp phoca groenlandica and hooded seals cystophora cristata in greenland 1939 1983. Northwest Atlantic Fisheries Organization Scientific Council Studies (10): 57-65

Collection of hunting statistics for Greenland began in the 1860's, but initially the published summaries only distinguished between "small" and "large" seals. Seal catches have been reported by species since 1939, making it possible to examine trends in catches of harp and hooded seals. In the case of harp seals (Phoca groenlandica), the trends in catch were similar in all regions of Greenland. The total catch declined from a level of 20,000-25,000 harp seals annually in the 1940's to 6,000-7,000 in the late 1960's and increased subsequently to 17,000-19,000 in the early 1980's. In the case of hooded seals (Cystophora cristata), available information indicates that catches declined from a level of 10,000-15,000 annually in the last decades of the 19th century to 1,000-2,000 in the 1950's but have subsequently increased in all regions to a level of 5,000-6,000 annually in the late 1970's and early 1980's. Although collection of hunting statistics have become increasingly difficult in Greenland, the published adjusted summaries are considered to be sufficiently accurate to give an indication of major trends in seal catches. The observed trends indicate that there may be a close relationship between the level of exploitation and regulation of catches in the breeding and molting areas and the catches of harp and hooded seals in Greenland, although demographic changes technological modifications and environmental fluctuations may have counteracted or reinforced the relationship.

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