HONOLULU — Hawaiian monk seal populations have grown to an estimated 1,605 in 2022, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. This number is up from an estimated 1,564 in 2021.  

Before 2021, the population of Hawaiian monk seals hadn’t risen above 1,500 in more than two decades.

The population of Hawaiian monk seals has increased by about 2% every year since 2013.

The sea mammals are still considered an endangered species. Although their population is increasing, it is only about one-third of historic population levels. Monk seals are threatened by food limitations, human interactions and entanglement in marine debris. 

Most Hawaiian monk seals live around the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands, while about 25% live around the main Hawaiian Islands.

Michelle Broder Van Dyke covers the Hawaiian Islands for Spectrum News Hawaii. Email her at michelle.brodervandyke@charter.com.