Economic Importance for Humans: Positive
Prehistorically, A. townsendi may have been hunted by Chumash Indians at San Miguel Island and other Channel Islands in California. The seal produces a rich, dense fur that was highly prized up until recent times, with the species nearly driven to extinction by seal hunters in the 1880's. In 1892, only seven individuals were known to exist. The population has rebounded, and the trade in the fur of Guadalupe fur seals is prohibited.
(Melin & DeLong 1999; Whitaker 1997)