HELCOM common monitoring relevant for the seal population trends is documented on a general level in the HELCOM Monitoring Manual under the sub-programme: Seal abundance.
HELCOM monitoring guidelines for seals were adopted in 2014 and currently all monitoring guidelines are being reviewed for inclusion in the Monitoring Manual.
The monitoring methodology is described in detail in the core indicator report from 2013.
Current data for this indicator only include data collected in Swedish and Finnish waters.
The monitoring activities relevant to the indicators that are currently carried out by HELCOM Contracting Parties are described in the HELCOM Monitoring Manual in the Monitoring Concept Table.
Sub-programme: Seal Abundance
Monitoring Concept Table
Current monitoring is carried out on a national basis, but initiatives of coordinating methodology have been taken by the Health team of the HELCOM Seal Expert Group.
Optimal monitoring should expand the current data collection to encompass the entire region in which the relevant seal species occur, and reporting through a dedicated data call and database should be developed.
Specifically, for grey seals the greater spatial coverage of data is required to include all relevant areas which this species inhabits. Monitoring of harbour seals is sufficient, but more data from Danish waters could prove to be important in the future. For ringed seals more samples are required from the entire area of distribution.