In recent times, the major predators of hooded seals have been humans. The sealing industry began in the 18th century and these mammals were hunted for 150 years without any restrictive laws. More than 500,000 seals (hooded and harp seals) were caught per year between 1820 and 1860. At first, sealing was popular because there was a demand for oil and leather. After the 1940s, seals began to be hunted for their fur and one of the most prized species was the hooded seal, considered four times more valuable than other seals. A quota to limit hunting was introduced in 1971 and was set at 30,000.
Natural predators of hooded seals include sharks, polar bears, and killer whales. Polar bears mainly feed on harp and bearded seals but will hunt hooded seals when they are breeding on ice and are more visible, vulnerable targets.