Seal Watching Guidelines

​​For both human safety and the welfare of the animals, guidelines for seal watching are in place in Tasmania.  ​

Keep your distance

​Boats shouldn’t approach closer than 100 metres to a seal colony during November-December (pupping season) or within 50 metres at any other time of year. Reduce your boat’s speed to under 10 knots within 200 metres, and 5 knots within 100 metres.​

Look, don't touch

Never attempt to land at a seal colony. Landing can lead to major disturbance, such as endangering pups due to stampedes.
Don't throw food or discard rubbish - animals in the wild should not be fed, and plastics can harm through accidental ingestion or entanglement. 

What do I do if I find a seal on the beach?

Seals haul out for several reasons, but often to rest after long swims. 

It is important to remember that seals are wild animals that require space. Approaching seals can be dangerous as they may bite and, like all wildlife, can carry diseases.

If you find a seal without external ears (phocid), it’s a rare visitor from the Antarctic or the sub-Antarctic. Please report it to - 0427 942 537. 
Sometimes a seal may haul out because it is sick or injured. Determining the state of health should only be attempted by a qualified member of the Marine Conservation Program. 
Please contact the Marine Conservation Program’s Marine/Whale Hotline on 0427 942 537 with any sightings of injured or entangled seals.  

Australian Fur Seals
Australian fur seals

Where to observe seals

This map illustrates known locations of haul-outs, breeding sites and viewing sites for Australian fur seals in Tasmanian waters. Most of the animals at haul-out areas (non-breeding sites) are adult and subadult males. ​

Australian Fur Seal Location Map 

See also:


  Management of Seals Onshore in Tasmania   (421Kb)


Wildlife Services

GPO Box 44,
HOBART, TAS, 7001.