Monitoring of catches has been inconsistent since the break-up of the Soviet Union. In 1999, 34,850 pups were taken, all harp seals. Quotas for 2000 and 2001 were set at 63,500 and 76,000 pups respectively.
In 2005, Russian vessels did not go sealing in the Greenland Sea for logistical reasons. In the White Sea, 14,258 harp seal pups were taken (including 7,200 under permit for scientific purposes) and 19 adult females for scientific purposes.
Conversion factor in Norwegian / Russian quotas
Both Norway and Russia use a conversion factor when setting quotas, with more than one pup being treated as equivalent to one adult. This is because seals, like all mammals, have a relatively high death rate in their first year of life. The removal of pups therefore has less effect on the population size than the removal of adults.
Norway and Russia share the harp seal harvest in the Eastern ice fields of the Russian White Sea in the Barents Sea. Here the conversion factor is 2.5 pups for each adult seal.
In the Western ice fields in the Jan Mayen/East Greenland area, harp seals and hooded seals are taken by Norway only. Here the conversion factor for hooded seals is 2 pups to 1 adult, while the hooded seal factor is 1.5 pups to 1 adult.