Comments: Perceived to compete with fisheries for commercially valuable fishes (e.g., cods, herrings, salmon). May remove or mutilate fishes in nets and traps, often damaging gear in the process. May interfere with lobster trapping by opening traps and eating the bait. Serves as primary reservoir of codworm, the removal of which increases the cost of producing marketable cod and other fishes. Population control measures through bounty and culling schemes continue to be advocated by fishermen.
Has been exploited intensively (commerical and subsistence use) throughout the range (see Reeves et al. 1992). In Canada, bounty kills and culls of perhaps 2000 seals/year occurred from the 1960s to the 1980s. Commonly displayed in zoos and aquaria. Has been used in important studies of diving physiology and sleep.