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Canada’s National Marine Conservation Areas System Plan

Harp seal (Phoca groenlandica)

Harp seal
© Parks Canada / Dorothea Kappler, 1995

Named for the horseshoe or harp-shaped band on the backs of the adults, harp seals spend the summer feeding among the ice floes of the eastern Arctic and off Greenland. In the fall the majority drift south with the pack ice until they reach their large whelping areas in the Gulf of St. Lawrence and off southern Labrador, a swimming migration of some 3200 km. Harp seals are found in Arctic and Subarctic waters of the North Atlantic.

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