Biology of the Bearded Seal (Erignathus barbatus) in Alaska 1961–2009 (2011)
Final Report to the National Marine Fisheries by Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Arctic Marine Mammal Program
The Alaska Department of Fish and Game has been monitoring the health and status of bearded seals in Alaska since 1962 by collecting information and samples from the Alaska Native subsistence harvest. This monitoring program is especially important because agencies have yet to overcome the logistical constraints necessary to estimate seal abundance in remote, ice-covered waters. As such, reliable estimates of bearded seal abundance or population trend are lacking. Retrospective analyses of data provided by this monitoring program allow us to examine how parameters that affect population size may vary in time and how current conditions compare with past conditions. Parameters we monitor that are indicative of population health or status include growth rate, body condition, diet, age distribution, sex ratio, age of maturation, pregnancy rate.