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Six harbour seals, ages 4–8 years, were held as pairs in a 10 times 20 times 2 m tank filled with sea water, and on 60 occasions were fed a meal of a specific species of fish or cephalopod of known size. The tank was drained periodically, and harbour seal faeces were collected on a 0.5 mm sieve. Number and size of otoliths and beaks found in faeces were determined. Fifty-eight percent of 670 fish and 37% of 36 cephalopods fed to harbour seals were represented by their otoliths or beaks in faeces. Estimated number of prey consumed was determined from the greatest number of left or right otoliths or upper or lower beaks collected in faeces. Estimated length ofprey was determined from measurements of otoliths and beaks recovered in the tank and relationships of otolith and beak measurements to prey length. Estimated number of fish eaten was not significantly different among pairs of harbour seals, but was different among species of fishes. Only 24–35% of fish species with small otoliths were represented in faeces, whereas more robust otoliths from other species were less apt to be completely dissolved. Estimated length of fishes was significantly less than lengths of fishes fed to harbour seals in 39 (76.5%) of 51 trials. Cephalopod beaks were not affected by passage through the harbour seal digestive tract. Amount of otolith dissolution was not related to species of fish; estimated fish length was underestimated by an average 27.5%. Although some (7.4%) of the otoliths were collected within 100 h after the fish were ingested, more than 90% were recovered within 24 h after the fish was eaten. Correction factors were developed which will allow researchers to estimate more reliably number and size of fish and cephalopod prey eaten by harbour seals.