The most recent Canadian government assessment of Northwest Atlantic harp seals, based on a 1999 survey, estimated there to be 5.2 million animals.  There is a 95% chance that the actual number lies between 4.0-6.4 million (Healey and Stenson 2000).

While it is often said that the harp seal population is "exploding", such comments are not based on the available scientific evidence. In fact, Canadian government scientists report that the population has been essentially stable since 1996 (Healey and Stenson 2000), and if removals continue at current levels, the population is actually expected to decline.