The sub-Antarctic fur seal (Arctocephalus tropicalis
) is rarely seen in our waters but there have been several sightings of this species at Bass Strait Australian fur seal colonies during the 1990s. This species is difficult to distinguish from the Australian fur seal and long-nosed fur seals that breed in Tasmanian waters.
The sub-Antarctic fur seal breeds on sub-antarctic islands including Macquarie Island and Herd Island. On Macquarie Island the total population of sub-antarctic fur seals is estimated to be 90 to 110. In the 1995-96 season only 25 pups were born. This species does occur throughout the sub-Antarctic, with an estimated total population of 300 000.
Studies of the sub-antarctic fur seal on Macquarie Island reveal that this species forages mostly at night and dives mostly at shallow depths. It feeds on pelagic myctophid fish (small fish).