Scottish seal killings must end!

27th June 2012

The Seal Protection Action Group (SPAG) today called for an end to all seal killings in Scottish waters in response to government figures revealing that 461 seals were shot under licence in 2011. The final figures for 2011 have just been released, 5 months late and almost half-way through the second year of the new scheme.

In February 2012, the Scottish Government announced that a total of 362 seals were shot in the first nine months of 2011 and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead described the scheme as ‘working well’. SPAG has condemned the fact that the actual kill figures have taken so long to be made public. It has now been revealed that a further 99 animals were shot last year, and were unreported until now, with still no figures released on the number of seals killed in 2012.Two shot seals

Andy Ottaway of SPAG said today:

“The delay in releasing up-to-date figures on the number of seals being shot under the new Seal Licence is totally unacceptable. We are still six months behind in the reporting of the number of seals shot and that is not a scheme that we would describe as ‘working well’. What these delays reveal is government complacency over a totally unacceptable level of seal killings that leave an indelible stain on the international image of Scotland, Scottish salmon and other seafood products.”

In 2012, the Scottish Government has issued 58 licences to shoot a maximum of 1,100 seals. SPAG has already criticised the fact that new licences were issued before the final number of seal shootings in 2011 were even known.  A further six months of unreported seal killings has now elapsed and SPAG is calling for Seal Licences to be revoked if the reporting of numbers shot is not being provided on time.

SPAG has welcomed what appears to be a ‘massive reduction’ in seal killings on historical levels brought about by the new scheme. However, it believes much more needs to be done to end these ‘totally unacceptable’ seal killings altogether.

“We know it is perfectly possible to deter seals and other wild predators without harming them’ said Ottaway,‘At least one seal is shot every day in Scottish waters and that is too high a price to pay for Scottish salmon and other seafood. The government can and must introduce mandatory measures to end these killings.”

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