Feb 3, 2011

Seals gain more protection in law

Scottish government news statement.

New seal legislation and licensing


Legislation comes into force today that makes it an offence to kill any seal at any time, unless holding a specific licence or for animal welfare reasons to end suffering.

In addition to outlawing unregulated seal shooting, the seal provisions under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 will also introduce a new licensing system and introduce a number of seal conservation areas around Scotland.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead said:

"These seal management measures deliver a significant improvement to how we manage the impact of seal predation on fisheries and fish farms around our coast. The new measures have been introduced after extensive consultation and Marine Scotland will now take forward implementation and monitoring.

"The first annual licences have been issued today to those who need to manage seal numbers to prevent serious damage to their fishery or to protect the health and welfare of farmed fish.

"Alongside licensing, we are introducing a number of conservation areas designed to protect vulnerable local populations of common seals. The areas cover Moray Firth, Shetland, Orkney, Firth of Tay and the Western Isles.

"This new system is a good example of how the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 is meeting our responsibilities to communities, conservation and the national economy in managing our unique marine environment. It will allow industry to maximise the benefits from sustainable fishing and aquaculture while minimising any loss to seal predation and providing important seal populations the necessary protection to breed and survive in our waters."

The Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 seeks to balance seal conservation with sustainable fisheries and aquaculture.

The implementation of the Act will have three main consequences:

* Makes it an offence to kill or injure a seal except under licence or for welfare reasons and outlaws all unregulated seal shooting
* Triggers the introduction of a number of seal conservation areas around Scotland, designed to protect vulnerable declining common seal populations
* Introduces a new seal licensing system across Scotland and issues associated licences

I can see this deviding oppinion!!!...good thing though.

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