Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Shooting seals

I've heard a rumour there might be some welcome news on seals very soon. Might be related to this campaign? Don't know.

Have to admit, despite my involvement in campaigning against seal clubbing, I had no idea that it was deemed OK to shoot seals in Scotland. There's a campaign to end this slaughter in the Marine Bill for Scotland, which is sister legislation (if such a concept exists) to the Marine and Coastal Access Bill announced in the Queen's Speech. Need to check out the extent to which it's a devolved matter, but certainly seems to be almost totally a Scottish issue. Here's some more info from Protect our Seals, including details of their 'seal friendly salmon' campaign.

And of course, it's an excuse to include a cute photo.


Elmer Quigley Gooseburger said...

Vote Labour!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kerry,

Thanks for highlighting this very important issue on your blog. Unlike the annual seal cull in Canada not many people are aware of the seal killing by the Scottish salmon industry in the UK.

However all over the world there is an ongoing battle of fishermen versus seals. The fishing industry blame seals for basically eating their profit, however there is no scientific evidence to justify claims that seals are threats to fish stocks when human over-fishing clearly is. For example, decades of mass culling in Canada has not led to any recovery in cod stocks.
In the UK, we estimate that up to 5,000 seals are shot by fishing interests, notably salmon netsmen and fin fish farmers. At present, common and grey seals are ‘protected’ by the Conservation of Seals Act (1970), which is little more than a licence to kill them, except during their respective breeding seasons: June 1st to August 31st for common seals and September 1st to December 31st for greys. Even then, fishing interests, notably salmon netsmen and fin fish farmers, can still shoot seals to prevent damage to their equipment or fish stocks.
Recently scientists from the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) at St Andrews University has revealed what is described as a ‘frightening’ decline in common (harbour) seals off the Scottish and English coasts, by as much as half in some areas of Scottish waters over the past six years.
Whilst the reasons behind the decline is deemed ‘complicated’ we believe that the indiscriminate shooting of seals has played its part and must be stopped!
The Seal Protection Groups coalition ( led by the Seal Protection Action Group ( is campaigning for the Conservation of Seals Act to be replaced with a Seal Protection Act that fully protects our globally important seal populations. We are also calling on major retailers such as Tesco, Sainsbury's and Marks and Spencer to insist that seals are not shot by their salmon suppliers.
In January of this year a public opinion poll found that 75% of the Scottish public support the killing of seals being made illegal in Scottish waters with only 12% supporting Fish farmers and fishermen continuing to kill them.
At the Seal Protection Action Group ( we believe that "Scientific evidence now supports our view that this culture of killing seals must stop. We are calling for a ceasefire for seals with immediate effect and the comprehensive protection of our disappearing seal populations from deliberate killing before it is too late."
In November we protested outside the Scottish Parliament and handing in a letter to Scottish First Minister ‘Alex Salmond’ demanding an immediate ban on he shooting of seals. Next week we will be protesting outside 10 Downing Street and handing in a letter to Gordon Brown too. We would be delighted Kerry if you would like to provide support to our campaign, for further details please contact me at anna-lisa.nagel[at]
Some further links which may be of interest to you are below:
Thank you,
Anna-Lisa Nagel
Seal Protection Action Group

Kerry said...

Thanks Anna-Lisa.

If it's a choice between seals eating fish, and people eating them - surely seals have prior claim!

I put down three written questions on Thursday, so you should see the answers come through soon - mostly trying to get to the bottom of how Defra can influence the Scottish Executive, or whether there are plans in the Marine Bill to tackle this on a UK basis - not quite sure to what extent this is a totally devolved issue now. I'm sure many people would be appalled to hear what's going on, so good luck with the campaign.

DaveA said...

Kerry, The London paper is doing pet of the year competition. Everyday they have readers send them a photo of their pet and their likes/dislikes, culminating in the annual vote. Alas they seem to of left out some cavies, so to add a bit of balance some images of guinea pigs who would be my pets of the decade. So this is here for your self indulgence.

Kerry said...

Tenuous Dave A, very tenuous. But I'm very glad they did actually turn out to be guinea pig pics. I want a Maine Coon!