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COP to Curtains.
People; Part Problem - Part Solution?
Plastic, Plastic, Plastic.
Scottish Parliamentary Petition: Closed Containment.
Official Shot Seal Numbers.
Climate Change, Greenhouse Gases and Biodiversity Loss; what you need to know in order to understand the processes and associated problems.
The gases associated with climate change, in effect produce a ‘blanket’ in the upper atmosphere. The high energy emissions from the sun pass through but the lower levels of energy, those with longer wavelengths are trapped, the result is warming.
The main drivers of climate change are; carbon dioxide CO2 (largest by volume and longest lasting), methane CH4 (four times as potent as CO2), and nitrous oxide N2O (around 300 times worse than CO2 the main cause being industrial scale agriculture from concentrated Nitrogen N2 fertilizers).
The Industrial Revolution is seen as the precursor to present day climate change and gives us a start point for CO2 levels. In terms of Parts Per Million (ppm) pre combustion-industry was at 280ppm, it is now at a record level, over 400ppm! (2020 - 412.5ppm). Putting that into perspective, data from ice cores indicate that the CO2 levels have not exceeded 300ppm in the last million years. This matters because three million years ago, with high CO2 levels, the temperature increase was 2 to 3 degrees and the sea level rise was between 15 to 25 metres! On our current trajectory, one estimate suggests a rise of CO2 exceeding 900ppm.
Water has one of the highest latent heat capacities of any commonly occurring material, this gives it the ability to act as a thermal buffer. In science terms this heat capacity can be worked with as a ratio known as specific heat. The salt in seawater with a salinity of 35 (another ratio, the average salinity [ 35grams/1litre of water]) has an effect, boiling and freezing point are slightly different, seawater with a salinity of 35 freezes at -1.80C. This is why salt is added to roads in the winter to prevent freezing.
The buffering effect is vital in maintaining global temperatures but now even with the oceans high latent heat capacity the temperature of seawater is rising. This has several important effects; rising heat from ocean hot-spots drives our air flows, the more intense the faster the movement, warm water absorbs less gas including CO2 therefore less CO2 is taken out of the atmosphere. Water mixing with carbon alters the pH or acidity/alkalinity levels and this can have an adverse effect on marine life, especially the shells of marine organisms.
The science bit:
The pH level uses a logarithmic scale so a small change in the number is actually a big deal. A 0.1 lowering is equivalent to a 30% increase in acidity. Not only does this have the ability to dissolve shells but this affect has a knock-on for economics and food supplies. If this acidity, known as ocean acidification, carries on increasing, coral reefs and many marine species with shells and exoskeletons will become extinct. Problems associated with shells made of calcium carbonate CaCO3 is nothing new, they also dissolve under extreme pressure, around 4,000m, this is known as the CCD or CCCD (Calcium Carbonate Compensation Depth). Therefore, we are already well aware of the fragility of marine organisms which utilise CaCO3 or a calcite polymorph Aragonite, which is even less stable.
The ocean conveyor is the term given to ocean currents that encircle the world. These currents are vital to current climatic conditions. The Arctic, effectively gives the system a ‘kick-start’, cold dense, brine water sinks to the seabed and is pushed south, to Antarctica, this circular flowing cold ocean provides for a sling-shot effect, as the current joins the rest of the globes five oceans. Without the sinking cold Arctic waters, the system slows, the Arctic is warming, meaning less cold water to sink. The Gulf Stream, and one of its off-shoots the North Atlantic Drift Current give northern Europe its mild climate, glaciers exist at the same latitude elsewhere in the world, the changes would be catastrophic.
Critics rightly state that CO2 levels fluctuate naturally and this is seen in ice cores during the ice ages and interglacial periods but these are very different from the rise seen since the industrial revolution. It is anthropogenic activities that are responsible for the current increase in CO2 concentration in the atmosphere.
The World Meteorological Organisation WMO's State of the Global Climate 2020 report, described increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere resulting from human activities, as a major driver of climate change. In the last 60 years atmospheric CO2 has increased annually, around 100 times faster than natural increases.
Mass Extinction Events are not new, but if we continue on our current path, that is exactly what the human race will cause, and that won’t just effect humans, many species have already gone extinct in our lifetime, in geological terms, this is the Anthropocene.
One of the most import matters to come out of the climate change process is that of biodiversity loss. These matters were considered and signed up to during the Rio ‘Earth’ Summit, that was in 1992! The ‘Precautionary Principle’, was agreed, that is where when we do not have sufficient science then we must take a precautionary approach, this has not been used anywhere near enough, as there is still a great deal that we do not understand in the marine environment, complexities of a food web is one example. Biotechnology is another, it identifies a substance from the natural environment, we are able to produce a product commercially, biotechnology could protect from future pathogens, if we destroy the route source, we will never know.
The Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution’s 25th report, ‘Turning the Tide’, suggested that 30% no-take-zones were required if we are to support future marine extraction. That was 17 years ago. In Scotland the Scottish government suggest that 37% of Scottish seas are afforded protection; Marine Protected Areas (MPAs), however damaging processes such as scallop dredging and bottom trawling are still permitted, this damages seabed communities, that equates to NO PROTECTION! Scotland and indeed global waters need 30% No-Take-Zones, Scotland has less than 5%!
So here we are COP26, already some of the big polluters are not in agreement over coal emissions, the Prime Minister, asks for countries to engage, yet fails to rule out the new Cambo oil field. Another coal mine is being considered in the north of England, hypocrisy does not come close, from arguably the one case where the UK has been a world leader, that of the very process, the industrial revolution, the results of which has caused this climate crisis.
The warnings are in the name, COP 26, that means 25 COPs have gone before, much of the agreed Paris Agreement has yet to materialise, including the financial package supporting those countries that cannot pay themselves, some of whom, their very survival relies. Whatever is agreed and so far, some good things are being covered, will they materialise?
References and further reading:
Lifted from the Seaspiracy website:
“HOW TO SAVE THE OCEAN
1,SHIFT TO A PLANT-BASED DIET
2.ENFORCE NO-CATCH MARINE RESERVES PROTECTING 30% OF OUR OCEANS BY 2030
3.END FISHING SUBSIDIES[CURRENTLY $35 BILLION PER YEAR]”
The following listed facts are worrying.
“FISHING HAS WIPED OUT 90% OF THE WORLD'S LARGE FISH.
FISHING IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO MARINE WILDLIFE.
300,000 DOLPHINS, WHALES & PORPOISES ARE KILLED BY FISHING OPERATIONS PER YEAR.
FISHING KILLS 30,000 SHARKS EVERY HOUR.
LONGLINE BOATS SET ENOUGH FISHING LINE IN ONE DAY TO WRAP THE EARTH 500X.
70% OF MACRO PLASTIC AT SEA COMES FROM FISHING GEAR.
PLASTIC STRAWS ONLY COMPRISE 0.03% OF PLASTIC ENTERING THE OCEAN.
BOTTOM TRAWLING RELEASES AS MUCH CARBON AS AIR TRAVEL.
24,000 FISHERIES WORKERS DIE ON THE JOB PER YEAR.
$35 BILLION IN SUBSIDIES IS GIVEN TO THE FISHING INDUSTRY EVERY YEAR.
FOREIGN FISHING IN WEST AFRICA CONTRIBUTED TO THE EBOLA EPIDEMIC.WIDESPREAD FORCED LABOUR IN THE SEAFOOD TRADE IS REPORTED IN 47 COUNTRIES.”
Some Examples of 'Bad Practice' and
Some ideas on how to improve.
The Scottish government coined the phrase, "Maximising Sustainability", it was an attempt to gain support from commercial industries during the scrutiny of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010. The words, 'maximise' and 'sustainable' when considering the marine environment do not fit comfortably in the same sentence.
The use of 'No-Take-Zones' would however go some way in sustaining the future use of Scotland's marine resources.
2019 has seen a ‘Teenage Take-over’: Politicians and governments are failing both us and the marine environment, teenagers still at school have picked up the campaign, highlighting the MAJOR issues which face Global Concerns, this IS their future!
Will we listen, more importantly, will we ACT? Will our actions be enough? Will our actions be in time?
It is about time that environmental issues were taken 'outside' of political parties...
A Cross-Party, A Cross-Country Concern! A future that actually utilises the Precautionary Principle, a future that actually understands and defines the word and meaning of ‘SUSTAINABILITY’ as an environmental criteria for the long term not as is often seen as a cheap publicity stunt, banded about like confetti for the advantage of short term commercial activities.
EU & UK 'Protection'
Part of an SAC
(Special Area of Conservation)
for Common Seals.
38 were shot in 2 days
50 were shot in one season.
The salmon farm can be seen, the six ringed structures, along with feed barges. The floating structure nearest the haul-out carries a generator and fuel dump.
The closest structure seen in this Google image is 20m from the 'protected' haul-out.
About 40 years ago salmon farming in Scotland was seen as an industry to overcome employment issues in more remote regions and the islands.
The industry grew with little concern to the environment. Currently it appears that the Scottish government in interested in expanding, in order to sustain the Chinese market.
It should be noted that a one percent increase would require close to a 50% expansion in Scottish waters.
Currently little is done to mitigate issues created by the multi-national salmon farming companies. These issues include; pouring tons of chemical treatments in to the sea, shooting seals, not as a matter of 'last resort', as required by law but in the first instance. The latest 'advance' is to fish wild wrasse from elsewhere, exploiting these fish and killing them each salmon harvest.
These are just some of the issues, the concept of catching wild fish to feed them from already over exploited fisheries is yet another.
The Scottish Sea Farms site within the Special Area of Conservation (SAC) for Common Seals.
Google Maps Image and position (2019) 560 32’55.9N 005029’02.2W. Don’t take our word for it check it out for yourself simply Copy & Paste: 56 32’55.9 N 5 29’02.2W and web search it.
The Lismore SAC is made up of five component islet areas around the main island of Lismore. There are currently 14 salmon farm cages within the bay close to this one designated haul-out, several feed barges and fuel dumps/generators, the largest of which actually contains a HOUSE!
Despite a declining seal population, mass (past) shootings, disturbance/harassment, including debris and mooring tackle on the islets, recent shooting under Marine Scotland License and three separate European Commission complaints, this salmon farm is still located there and little is done about it, apart from a 'management' group set up with restricted membership. When the farm is left ‘fallow’ (a salmon farming term, when there are no fish in the structures, supposedly to allow for the seabed to recover, normally insufficient time is allowed) some of the seals return.
One of the Five Component Sites that make up the Lismore SAC
(Google Image 2019)
Most issues concerning salmon farming could be mitigated by utilising 'closed-containment' pens; but they are more expensive and without public and/or government pressure, current damaging methods continues unabated.
This French trawler company had four of its fleet run aground in a matter of months. The waters around the west coast of Scotland are notoriously difficult with a limited buoyage system in place.
The outer isles experience storms and wild seas; the decision to disband the 'full-time' ocean going tug was fool hardy at best.
The folly of cut-backs in such a relentless remote environment is a retrograde step, it will only be a matter of time before the 'real' cost is felt.
A Coastguard, ocean going tug, pictured here refloating a French trawler which ran around.
Without an ocean going tug permanently situated on the west coast of Scotland serious incidents will occur, not a matter of if, rather when.
At Marine Concern we run with the principle that we are part of the ecosystem, we could live alongside Scottish wildlife without adversely effecting the ecosystems that support them and the fisheries that arguably support both. This can only be done if we take stock of what we have done, what we are doing and stop damaging the marine environment that supports food stocks, the tourist industry and so much more.
The Royal Commission for Environmental Pollution's 25th Report; 'Turning the Tide' suggested that in order to maintain future extractions and preventing biodiversity loss we need 30 percent of Scottish seas to be 'No-Take-Zones'. These are areas that do exactly what it says; - NO-TAKE. Around the world areas that use areas of no take have seen greater fish diversity, larger species and more fish. Fishermen have targeted the boundaries of these reserves and have found greater catches for less fishing effort. We just need to make the change.
A reintroduction on the" mobile fishing fleet; of the 'Three-Mile Limit', preventing damaging dredging and benthic trawling in fish nursery grounds would be a start in the right direction.
A Common Seal shot during a 'Seal Conservation Order'; dispite being reported, no action was taken!
When marine mammals indeed any animal interacts with us as long as we use caution any potential problem is minimised. Actively searching them out and contravening Marine Watching Guidelines is not good for the animals and maybe not good for us either.
Sea of the Hebrides; The Author was joined by Dolphins.
Souviners, what used to be seen as the 'norm' is now frowned upon and may cause untold damage to vulnerable ecosystems.
This salmon farm is situated within the Lismore SAC, a protected area for common seals. The floating diesel generator can be seen to the right of picture just 20m from the protected haul-out. Despite so called protection seals are shot here. Acoustic deterrents are routinely used in an attempt to 'scare' seals from the area. This region is a known 'hot-spot' for porpoise, acoustic deterrents are known to adversely affect porpoise. Porpoise are 'protected'. This type of activity, along with many other offences are not sustainable.
A sperm whale was reported in Oban Bay. People flocked to see this rare sight. The whale was well out of its normal habitat and was probably ill and distressed. Boats obstructed its passage and got far to close. This kayaker probably touched the whale with his kayak. Apart from not being ethical it is illegal and dangerous. Whales are a protected species.
When done sympathetically with nature, sea kayaking is probably one of the least invasive marine activities. Watching/approaching without due concern, such as getting too close to seals while they are hauled out can cause stampedes, which can kill pups. Seals need to 'rest' and warm as part of their lifecycle, especially during the breeding season. Harassment is now an offence in Scotland with potentially large fines and imprisionment.
The following pictures were taken in what is commonly thought of as a 'clean' sea loch.
They were also taken from the lochsides which run parallel to the prevailing winds; therefore
plastic accumulation would not be expected as at the leeward end of the loch.
The 'plastic' problem is Global and needs to be addressed from both a global and local perspective. As with single use plastic shopping bags we have proved that we can act and can make a difference. This issue is huge and needs to be addressed now, before it is too late, with an attempt to clear up the current mess which is now in the food chain, adversely affecting species and geological sediments.
Long term accumulation of plastics, some will never degrade
during our lifetimes.
Polypropylene, the World's second most widely produced plastic. Rope remains in tact for millennia. It kills indiscriminately.
Discarded and lost fishing nets continue fishing until they are recovered...
Deeply embedded plastic
within the strandline
Ring ties, bag handles and an array of other shapes trap animals of all sizes...please cut all loops and rings before putting out into the rubbish bins.
Marine Concern's petition ran over Dec. ‘18 - Jan. ‘19)
Calling on the Scottish Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to ensure that the salmon farming industry
solely utilises a closed-containment method with full water filtering in Scottish waters.
The PUBLIC PETITIONS COMMITTEE held on Thursday 7 February 2019,
the Committee agreed to write to the Scottish Government and key stakeholders to seek their views
on the action called for in the petition. (PE1715 on Closed-Containment for Salmon Farms in Scotland).
Scottish Public Parliamentary Petitions
Closed-Containment for salmon farms in Scotland PE01715
Currently before the;
The Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee
Update from Wednesday 22nd January 2020
Concern mounts from environmental and community groups
over apparent lack of engagement.
The good news is that the petition has been kept open, the REC Committee are to ask SEPA for information concerning legislation/regulations etc. concerning the trialling of closed containment systems in Scotland.
You can watch the Committee meeting on Scottish Parliament TV in Committee Room 2: https://www.scottishparliament.tv/
Alternatively, you can watch in the public gallery in the Committee Room at the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh. Information on attending is here:https://www.parliament.scot/visitandlearn/28753.aspx
Current RECC paperwork before the committee can be viewed here.
The Petition was heard on the 7th Nov. Very short and referred back to the REC Committee. Not sure how useful that will be as the Scottish government has all but ignored the findings of both the ECCLR and REC Committee findings (please see below). There did appear to be some confusion as to closed-containment being just on land. We have written to the MSP that raised the point, slightly worrying as this MSP also sits on the REC Committee, stating that they had already covered matters in some detail. We will report back when we know more.
Closed-Containment for Salmon Farms in Scotland: References used, Further information and Links
Salmon farms were established in Scotland in the early 1970's, they were seen as a panacea to providing work in remote rural areas especially the western and northern islands of Scotland, as well as raising Scotland's GDP. Environmental concerns soon became evident and the industry gained a bad reputation in not complying with environmental legislation.
Poor practice was compounded by planning that was and still is based on terrestrial templates, very little that occurs in the marine environment can be on a par with farming on land. The Scottish government and its Agencies forged ahead with expansion with little thought to the environmental costs.
The salmon industry has seen a 50% increase in salmon production since the mid 1990's, the environmental damage has been recorded and much is now known about the devastating effects that mass production including its 'medicines' and 'treatments' have. We are now facing yet another 50% increase in production with what currently appears to be little change in the operation process.
Salmon is Scotland's second largest food exporter at an estimated £600million in 2017 but using out-dated production methods it comes at a cost to Scotland's pristine coastal waters and the other industries and reputation which reply on Scotland's past 'clean' credentials.
Salmon farming does not have to be the bad neighbour as it is currently referred to; there are alternatives such as 'closed-containment'. By utilising closed containment systems on land or afloat the industry could expand without causing more damage to the marine environment, save the fishing from depleted waters especially those that third world countries rely upon as their only protein source.
Several major issues surround salmon farming, namely that Planning is still seen as 'Presumption in Favour' of production, despite the damming findings concerning the salmon farming industry from the Scottish government's own, Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform Committee (ECCLR) Report, "The Environmental Impacts of Salmon Farming" and the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee's (RECC) "Salmon Farming in Scotland" Report. The Scottish government is failing in addressing the issue it cannot even answer a request for the definition of 'sustainable', yet quotes the word widely. Scottish government and its Agencies along with Councils where applicable have developed a somewhat 'cosy' relationship making any real opposition very difficult. The multinational industry is well resourced and highly opposed to change, which affect profits.
There is insufficient space here to fully cover extant issues surrounding salmon faming, what follows is more of a list with further reading and references used. Two Reports cover the major issues particularly well; the Scottish government's own ECCLR Committee findings and the CRRU Report. Other links can be found at the end of this posting. Marine Concern's background has been to highlight current marine environmental situations using seals as top end predators and extensive background in seal/fish farm worker interactions, an example of industry's abuse to the systems, we will expand on this below.
US MMPA Update: Imports/Seal Shooting
The Marine Scotland website has produced the following in respect to the effect of the US Imports under the Marine Mammal Protection Act with regard to the shooting of seals by UK fish farms.
“Part 6 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 seeks to balance seal conservation with other pressures and requirements, such as species conservation. On 1 February 2021 changes to Part 6 came into force which removed two reasons for which licences to kill or take seals could be granted. These are protecting the health and welfare of farmed fish and preventing serious damage to fisheries and fish farms:
Nobody knows how many seals are shot each year under licenses issued by Marine Scotland, part of the Scottish government.
no authority is actually counting! Bad enough you might think but read on, it gets worse, much worse.
The official Marine Scotland website will tell you that 245 Grey Seals and 113 Common or Harbour Seals were shot during the one year period covering 2017, but this is based on self reporting from an industry that has a very poor record for complying with environmental legislation (see the estimating methods devised by Marine Concern and accepted as the current best up to date method by several NGO's below).
PBR's and Counts
Permitted Biological Removal (PBR's) methods are used to determine how many seals can be 'taken', without having an adverse affect on the population. By definition when a population is in decline, the PBR should be zero but government paid scientists refuse to stand up to the mark.
Under the European Commission's Habitats Directive, a report on the 'conservation status' of species must be submitted every six years. In the UK this falls on the Special Committee on Seals and in Scotland the counts are conducted by the Seal Mammal Research Unit (SMRU). Counts were done on a yearly basis but now it appears that a rolling estimate over a five-year period has been adopted. This method cannot be as accurate as yearly counts and opens the whole system up to short-comings during a crisis, such as the PDV virus out breaks which have decimated huge colonies of Common Seals around Europe, up to 85% in some areas.
Making matters worse is the use of 'polygon' counts and alteration of the sizes of the polygons or the choosing of different populations, which has the ability to off-set the 'decline' ratios on Scotland's west coast.
Seals are inquisitive animals, they like to investigate; structures in the sea and oceans are known to attract species including fish, fish attract other predators, many seals will approach salmon farms as a result of these additional interests including wild fish. Many salmon farms have been placed along seal transit routes some even in Special Areas of Conservation for seals and even in protected areas Marine Scotland deem it fit to issue licenses to shoot seals.
The Scottish Rural College (SRUC), Inverness, currently holds a contract to record and investigate seal strandings in Scotland. This work is funded by the Scottish Government and is designed to support the new seal licensing system. It is worthy of note that that despite being part of the Marine Scotland license requirement only 2.3% of the Grey Seals shot and returned and 4.5% of the Common Seals shot and returned were subject to necropsy (animal autopsy).
Scientists from the Rural College stated concerns that only 'clean' kills were being returned, this has been covered in the online publication by Frontiers of Marine Science, with one quote, "Marksmen may choose to only recover seals that have been shot well".
Evidence from the report of necropsies indicated seals were being shot in the neck, the jaw and included multiple shots. "Clear evidence of seals being shot in ways that do not follow the Scottish Seal Management Code of Practice".
A very small number of seals, less than 10% actually predate on salmon installations and these have become known as salmon specialists. Of the shot, seals returned their stomach contents following necropsy indicate just 2 to 3% salmon studying both ear bones (otoliths) and DNA testing. Some of the shot seals returned from salmon netsmen had no salmon in their stomachs at all.
More than 35% of necropsied seals were found to be either pregnant or lactating and this creates huge welfare issues, the seal pup picture on Marine Concern's 'Contacts' page is one such pup left to die for over a week; emaciated. The Conservation of Seals Act 1970 has restrictions for the breeding seasons; the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 however, does not.
There may be more than 50% of shot seals considered under the 'Struck and Lost' numbers that is the seals that have been shot but escape, often to die a long painful death. A conservative figure given to those that have been under reported or not reported at all is set at 25%, although this figure might be much higher. Adding these figures together with the pregnant or lactating figures takes the latest government figures up to at least 752.
Marine Concern's Method of Accounting for Seals Shot in Scotland
Marine Scotland's 'official' figures
Additional numbers added due to being pregnant and/or lactating (35%)
Additional figures added due to 'Struck and Loss' (50%)
Additional figures added due to lack of reporting, [conservative] (25%)
Seals Shot in Scotland More Likely to be 800 plus per Year!
The CRRU Report states: "The current system of self-regulation within the industry is clearly inadequate and officials in offices fail to acknowledge the shortfall in reporting. Evidently, numerous kills go unrecorded, multiple kills may not be reported, unlawful sinking and/or dumping of carcasses deliberately occurs, plus there is no accounting for "struck and loss" figures (which may account for up to 50% of all reported clean kills)".
Mind-Set.It is worth noting the 'mid-set' of those in the industry when thinking about seals being shot, as it is not your normal 'town or country' public perspective. Under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, which is still in force in England and Wales the term 'rogue' developed. Rogue seals could be shot under the terms of the Act. The associated industries turned this around, with many stating that ALL seals were 'ROGUE' and therefore could be shot. There have been personal accounts witnessed (Pers Comms) of fish farm workers laughing about it on site and in local hostelries. Even under the new Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 this false and illegal ideology exists.
Not Listening. Marine Concern and previously Hebridean Partnership have been involved with the seal shooting issue for more than 20 years. During that time communication with the relevant authorities and the Scottish government has been attempted, with limited success. Often the criteria set by the authorities is altered to exclude 'conservation' groups, in the case of the Scottish Seals Forum a leading member of the Scottish government stated, "I have no intention of creating a balance in the group", which at the time was three to one in favour of the commercial industries.
Recent contact with the government once again called for a 'level playing field’ that includes ALL 'Stakeholders', which includes the public and NGO's. That's nothing new and is laid down in the principles of the Rio 'Earth' Summit under Agenda 21...involving communities. However, the government failed to even supply a definition of 'sustainable', a word currently being banded about by politicians like confetti.
'Sustainable', was covered in The World Commission's Report, 'Our Common Future', known as the Bruntland Report states,"Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs", however current authorities and politicians generally appear not to want to adopt this widely accepted reference when dealing with growth in their own back yards!
Currently salmon production in Scotland is far from being 'sustainable'. Closed-containment would go someway to enabling expansion of the industry without further damaging Scotland's pristine coastal waters and good reputation.
References Used, Further Reading and Links
Plus much more, if you would like futher information please contact Marine Concern via the Contacts page.
2018 Update on seal numbers being shot under license
The Scottish Government is required under the Special Committee on Seals (SCOS) to provide updates on the seal populations and situation. In Scotland much of this is conducted by the Seal Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) and on occasions Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).
The figures listed for 2018, correct as of the 31/03/2018 are: -
245 Grey Seals and 113 Common or Harbour Seals.
Scot. Gov. Figs. 358
Struck & Lost (50%) 180
Pregnant or lactating (30%) 161
Unreported (25%) 175
Estimate of Seals Shot in Scotland = 875
Figures rounded and likely to exceed 900 seals shot in Scotland under the current license system administered by Marine Scotland.
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NB. All photographic stills are copyright © of Mark-MC.