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Campaigners Condemn 900 'Last Resort' Seal Shootings In Scotland

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EAST SUSSEX, England -- The Seal Protection Action Group (SPAG) today condemned the Scottish Government for publishing details about the shooting of hundreds of seals in Scotland on an obscure website, so avoiding public scrutiny and further public outrage at the killings.

The Marine Scotland website says that 61 licenses were granted in 2012 to shoot a maximum of 878 grey and 289 common seals, (I,167 in total), by salmon aquaculture, wild salmon netting companies and sports fishing interests, but only as a 'last resort.'

The final quarter figures (Sept Dec 2012) posted just this week reveal that 349 grey and 74 common seals were shot last year, 423 seals in total. This number represents only 38 animals less than the 461 shot in 2011, the inaugural year of the Government's Seal License Scheme. That means a total of 884 seals have been shot in just two years under the seal license scheme.

Andy Ottaway of the SPAG said, 'Under the Government's new scheme a staggering 884 seals or more, have been shot in just two years, allegedly as a 'last resort' measure. That's an awful lot of last resorts, and it strongly suggests nothing much is being done to curb seal shooting which is becoming institutionalized under a government scheme we hoped would help end it'.

The news follows revelations this week that a new seal deterrent device, developed by the Seal Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at St Andrews University with a grant from the Scottish government, is now in the hands of a private finance company called Banker's Capital, based in New York. The device, which has proven very promising in laboratory and field trials at deterring seals without harming them or other wildlife, is now being offered to Scottish aquaculture companies for further trial, but at huge prices. SPAG knew about and backed this device some two years ago, but it is yet to be made readily available to the salmon industry.

Newspaper reports this week say Marine Harvest, the biggest producer of salmon in Scotland, has been asked to pay 5,000 per month to trial just one device. If trialled at several of their farm sites it could cost the company several tens of thousands of pounds each year, as they operate over two dozen fish farms in Scotland. The SPAG campaigners fear that if simply renting the device for trial is this expensive then it could be priced out of market while seals continue to be shot.

Andy Ottaway said 'Every day seals are shot in Scottish waters while the Scottish salmon Industry, worth half a billion pounds, quibbles over testing a device for just a few thousand pounds. It's a shameful situation and we appeal to the government and the industry to pull together and subsidize trials far and wide, because it may save seals now as well as resolve an issue that leaves a bloody stain on the image of Scotland and Scottish salmon products'

Views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of, its staff or its advertisers.

Reader Comments

4 people have commented so far. cloud add your comment

The killing of any wildlife is a brabaric act. It more so when there is something that may stop the so call need to do this and it will not be used. Come on the Scottish Salmon Industry and the Scottish government, get together and stop this totally uneccessary killing.
   comment# 1   - Jeffrey Hoskins · Swansea, West Glamorgan · Mar 19, 2013 @ 12:12pm

ASININE IDIOTS !! I'd like to do some open season target shooting myself,and not on anything in the water !!
   comment# 2   - Buzz · Cloudcroft,NM USA · Mar 19, 2013 @ 5:22pm

Leave the bloody wildlife alone, they have more right to the fish than we have.It sickens me that man thinks he has a God given right to murder innocent animals. They have as much right to be on this planet as we have. Murder is murder no matter whether its human or animal. Totally disgusts me.
   comment# 3   - Alison Hamilton · County Down, United Kingdom · Apr 23, 2013 @ 7:27am

overfished waters by everyone,good fish caught then thrown back into ocean dead[government rules]oil tanker ships,from other countries, crashing on rocks in scotland,causing miles of oil slicks/poloution to everything in the water/its same as the butchery in japans cove to the dolphins.the fishermen+families have 2 eat+keep warm,the more fish eaten by seals the further out to sea they need to go+more danger by that/its a bit barbarack,laws need changing 2 restore balance of eco system for humans+mamals.2 the men carring out the task,its a job,money 2 eat,pay the bills.there not killing every last one,but controlling the over populated areas,seals will get up on concrete walls with salmon contained inside,jump down grab themselves a big salmon jump out the water onto concrete barrier+take off with their kill+when hungry will repeat+repeat this action,they dont always go for any old fish,their crafty about it,loads of stuff has been tried in past to deter them but to no avail+lets face it they hardly look like their loosing weight/they cull the deer every yr that would,nt make it through another winter in scotland ,suffolk in east anglia deer cull,london deer cull all every not heartless but understand balance in any system.hope havent offended any humans out there as this not my intention,im only someone with an indevidual opinion.
   comment# 4   - kat · glasgow · Apr 9, 2015 @ 1:39pm
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