HELCOM Seal database stores information on abundance of grey seal, harbour seal and ringed seal as gathered by HELCOM SEAL Expert Group based on counted seals. The data collection activity has been supported by the BALSAM project (2013-2015, co- financed by the European Union DG Environment)and is carried on by the HELCOM SEAL EG. Figures represent counted numbers of seals during the standardized aerial surveys. The surveys are carried out during the species specific peak moulting period when the proportion of individuals hauling out at their moulting sites/habitats is the highest. Numbers can be considered as minimum population estimates since a part of the population is always in the water and not reachable in the surveys. Numbers can be viewed per sea area, but it must be noticed that outside of the moulting time seals can travel long distances and may be differently distributed to the Baltic Sea. The abundance data is produced by national seal monitoring executives within Contracting Parties.
below interactive charts of seal counts by species, area and year. Note
variable scale in graphs. Datasets are downloadable from link under the
Download Ringed Seal excel sheet
DISTRIBUTION DATA (GPS TRACKS)The maps below describe, as examples, habitat use of grey seals, harbour seals and ringed seals as gathered by HELCOM SEAL Expert Group based on seals marked with telemetry devices in several projects. The data aggregation activity has been supported by the BALSAM project (2013-2015; co-financed by the European Union DG Environment). The maps are based on data with two locations per day (closest to midnight and midday) for up to several months per individual.
See below density grids (number of locations per 5 x 5 km grid cell) of seals by species based on satellite telemetry. Note that the maps do not show the distribution of the whole population and can be used only as an informative overview of areas used by the few tagged individuals.