In 2005, approximately 15,000 seals (10,000 harp and 5,000 hooded) were harvested.
In 2005, Norway also began offering seal hunting as a tourism product.
Norwegian sealers are only permitted to use the rifle to kill adult seals, while young seals are killed with a hakapik or rifle. The hakapik is also used on seals which have been shot in order to make sure they are dead.
Harp seals are hunted during the spring at both their West Ice and East Ice breeding grounds, quotas for these populations being jointly managed by Norway and Russia.
Between 1991 and 1996, Norwegian sealers took an average of 14,778 harp seals. The harvest then dropped sharply, to 7,163 in 1997 and 2,716 in 1998. The 1999 season saw a further reduction to 781 pups and 1,172 older seals, with only two vessels taking part in the West Ice hunt and, for the first time in many years, no Norwegian vessels sealing on the East Ice.
However the catch then increased dramatically in 2000 to 18,678 seals, of which 12,321 were on the West Ice (6,328 juveniles and 5,993 older seals), and 6,357 on the East Ice (2,253 juveniles and 4,104 older seals).
In 2001, Norwegian vessels were allocated quotas of 15,000 adult harp seals (equivalent; see Conversion factor in Norwegian / Russian quotas) on the West Ice, and 5,000 adult harp seals on the East Ice.
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.