This species almost became extinct in the 18th and 19th centuries due to intense commercial sealing for their fur. The population growth has now reached about 10% per annum due to increasing concern about their well-being. They are protected under the Convention for Conservation of Antarctic Seals (CCAS) and the Antarctic Treaty. On a more local level they are protected by the legislation of each of the islands they inhabit. They have also been placed under Appendix II of CITES.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: appendix ii
IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern