Abstract Gastrointestinal lesions with uncertain etiology have been widely described among pinnipeds. The aim of our study was to investigate the presence of Helicobacter spp. in the gastric mucosa of South American fur seals ( Arctocephalus australis). Gastric biopsies from thirteen seals, stranded on the shores of the Southwestern Atlantic Ocean in Argentina, were evaluated for the presence of Helicobacter spp. by PCR and DNA sequence analysis. Six gastric biopsies were positive for Helicobacter spp. Pairwise sequence comparisons showed less than 95% identity to novel Helicobacter spp. described from pinnipeds from North America and Australia. However, phylogenetic analysis revealed that the South American fur seal sequences clustered with 99–100% homology with H. cetorum, a species isolated from dolphins and whales. The presence of H. cetorum in pinnipeds, if confirmed by its isolation from the gastric mucosa of these mammals, demonstrates the wide host range of this bacterium in the marine environment.