Gray seals in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary

Febuary 2019

Have you ever seen a gray seal while visiting your sanctuaries? Learn about this pinniped in our video!


This little head popping out of the sea isn’t a mermaid.

It’s a gray seal!

Gray seals are found in coastal waters throughout the North Atlantic, including in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary.

Their scientific name, Halichoerus grypus, translates to “hooked-nosed pig of the sea.”

And gray seals can be piggy! They eat up to 45 pounds of fish, squid, and crustaceans each day.

Cape Cod, near the sanctuary, hosts growing breeding colonies.

The gray seal gatherings attract white sharks, which prefer this substantial prey.

Gray seals, like all marine mammals, are protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

If you see a seal at sea or on shore, give it plenty of space and stay quiet to avoid disturbing it.

Never approach a seal pup – human interference can cause them to be abandoned by their mothers.

Share the shore to help protect seals and other marine mammals for years to come!