Friday, 29 March 2013

Nearly 900 seals shot legally in Scotland in 2 years

Seal deterrent device priced out of market
March 2013. Campaigners condemn 900 seal shootings in ScotlandThe Seal Protection Action Group (SPAG), have 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 licences were granted in 2012 to shoot a maximum of 878 grey and 289 common seals, (1,167 in total), by salmon aquaculture, wild salmon netting companies and sports fishing interests - but only as a ‘last resort.'

423 seals shot legally in 2012
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 Licence Scheme. That means a total of 884 seals have been shot in just two years under the seal licence scheme.

884 seals shot in 2 years
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 institutionalised under a government scheme we hoped would help end it'.

Seal deterrent device
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.

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