Seals are hunted by humans for food and fur. Hunting seals is a traditional pursuit along northern coastlines, and is the only staple livelihood in many Inuit (Eskimo) communities.
Clubbing seal pups to death for the fur trade has received wide negative publicity, and Norway now does not permit slaughter of the pups while they are young enough to suckle. Between 1983 and 1986 the value of seal skins sold in Canada fell from $US 700,000 to under $70,000, and was accompanied by a rise in the suicide rate in Inuit communities.
Harp seals reduce herring and other fish stocks, and so their numbers should be kept under control by hunting.