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Alaska Department of Fish and Game

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Ringed Seal (Phoca hispida)

Subsistence Use

Ringed seals are hunted by Alaska coastal Natives from Bristol Bay to Kaktovik for food and oil. Seal oil is an important addition to many foods for coastal people but is important and often traded for far inland as well. Ringed seal oil is also used on bearded seal skins and sinew for sewing boat covers to make the stiches waterproof. Ringed seal skins are used for clothing, equipment, and crafts. Current harvest is unknown, but indications are that although the harvest is substantial it is sustainable and harvest was not considered to be a factor in the pending ESA action to list the species as threatened. The Ice Seal Committee and the Alaska Department of Fish and Game are surveying a sample of coastal villages to document and monitor the harvest of ringed seals.

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