Seals have always been hunted and eaten here. Today however seal meat is not at all a popular dish and actually hard to find. Back in the old days shortening made from seal oil and tallow commonly replaced butter early in the summer. Twisted doughnuts, bread and pastries were cooked in seal oil. The fat of the seal was eaten fresh, but also salted and dried. When salt was in low supply, many homes used kelp ashes instead.
Up to the late 20th century, seal blubber was boiled with beans like bacon in neighboring countries. Where seals were plentiful, cooked seal was eaten during the week, but in other areas seal meat was reserved for Sundays. The head, flippers, and tail were seared, boiled or pickled, and the skin was used for shoemaking.
The harbor seal is the most common species in Iceland, but it is rare in the eastern and north-eastern parts. There are quite many near Hvammstangi where the Icelandic Seal Centre is housed. Seals attract both locals and tourists and often make great photo moments.