Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has welcomed new legislation that came into force today to protect seals.
Measures brought in under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 outlaw unregulated shooting of seals, establish a new licensing system to manage shooting and introduce a number of seal conservation areas around Scotland. Marine Scotland will be responsible for the implementation and monitoring of the new measures.
John Baxter, SNH’s principal adviser on seals, said: “Given the serious and worrying decline in the numbers of common, or harbour, seals, these new measures are particularly important. They are a considerable improvement on provisions contained in previous legislation, providing a clear approach to seal conservation while taking account of the needs of fisheries and aquaculture interests to protect and manage their stocks. The fact that all shooting will be licensed means that we can gather much more comprehensive information on seal populations, which will be extremely useful when making decisions on the future management of seals.”