Alaska Fisheries Science Center's Northern Fur Seal Photo Archive
Northern fur seals (Callorhinus ursinus, previously referred to as the Alaska fur seal) are found in the North Pacific and Bering Sea. The largest portion of the worldwide population returns to the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, in the eastern Bering Sea during their annual breeding season. For several decades, Marine Mammal Laboratory (MML) scientists have been traveling to these islands to photograph and document changes in the population.
Currently the Pribilof Islands fur seal population is listed as "depleted" or below its optimum sustainable level under the terms of the U.S. Marine Mammal Protection Act. Considering the declining population, and that any data that can help characterize, measure, and better understand the variation in population is invaluable, the MML Library in Seattle, Washington has digitized most of its northern fur seal image collection and made it available online through this photo archive.
All of the photos in this archive were taken during the breeding season, between June and August, when peak numbers of seals appear on the rookeries, or breeding grounds. There are 20 rookeries within the Pribilof Islands: 14 rookeries on St. Paul Island and 6 rookeries on St. George Island. For more information on the northern fur seal species, click here.
Information provided throughout the archive, metadata, and documents are based on notes of photographers and/or researchers as found in the historical record. Errors were noted and corrected when possible; every effort was made to maintain accuracy. For complete details on this archive, please read the Northern Fur Seal Photo Archive Report.