The harbour seal, also known as the common seal, is a true seal found along temperate and Arctic marine coastlines of the Northern Hemisphere. Like other true seals, there is no pinna (ear flap).
As a whole, the population is not threatened but the Greenland, Hokkaido and Baltic Sea populations are. Populations have been victims of disease and conflict with humans by either accident or intention. In Norway and Canada, it is still legal to kill seals that are perceived a threat to fisheries. Seals are also taken in subsistence hunting and accidentally as bycatch. Along the Norwegian coast, bycatch accounted for 48% of pup mortality. Killing or taking seals has been illegal in the United Kingdom since 1 March 2021.