So, the Scottish government claims that only 362 seals were shot under their new licence to kill policy. I’m afraid I can have no confidence in these figures.
How does the government know this is how many seals were killed? Because that is what they have been told by the industry that has killed them.
No one has checked these figures. The salmon industry could have shot, trapped or otherwise killed any number of seals, because no one apart from them is counting.
Even if fish farms throughout Scotland are accurately reporting the exact number of seals they have shot, why were they shot in the first place?
Was every one of these seals posing a direct threat to these individual fish farms? Or was it a case of: “We have a licence to shoot 20 seals, so let’s shoot a few anyway in case they cause us any trouble.”?
And now that the government has brought an end to the closed season for shooting common seals, people can shoot a pregnant seal in June and get two for one – as happened at Bridge of Walls a few years ago.
Personally I do not see any reason why a single seal should be shot. Every salmon farm is supposed to have security in place to protect themselves from seals without guns.
The government’s licence to kill seals policy is a complete sham. Unless there is some kind of independent scrutiny of these figures, then I can have no faith in them whatsoever.
Our seals, like our seabirds, are already having to contend with ever increasing pressure on their environment from pollution, climate change and declining fish stocks, particularly sandeels.
Let’s get real. The state of the marine environment has become so serious, in Shetland as much as anywhere else in the world, that it needs all the protection that it can get. Surely it’s time we started giving to the environment, instead of just taking, taking, taking.
Check out Eradicating Ecocide
Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary
A recent video from Hillswick of Nora the Seal, Catching Fish Nora is a grey seal who arrived at Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary, Shetland, in October 2011. She was days old. Here she is three months later, the day before her release back into the wild.