In the United States the harbour seal is protected from all but subsistence hunting by the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972, which also prohibits importation of parts or products from all seals. Coastal reserves in Norway which exclude commercial fishing have been shown to reduce harbour seal mortality because of the generally restricted movements of this species along the Norwegian coast. Hunting is now prohibited in the Wadden Sea area (The Netherlands, Germany, Denmark, and Swedish waters) (Reijnders et al 1993), Swedish Baltic, Eire and UK (Harwood 1987). Licensed killing to protect fisheries is allowed in UK, Canada and USA. Illegal hunting probably occurs throughout the harbour seal's range. The harbour seal population in Svalbard is on the national Red List for Norway and is afforded complete protection.
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