ANIMAL campaigners have demanded action to curb seal shooting after “staggering” figures showed almost 900 of the creatures were shot in the past two years.
The Seal Protection Action Group (SPAG) spoke out after it emerged that 349 grey seals and 74 common seals were shot last year. The total of 423 seals shot is a reduction of 38 from the 461 seals shot in 2011, the first year a new licensing scheme came into place.
Andy Ottaway, of SPAG, said a “staggering” 884 creatures had been shot in the past two years. Under the Marine Scotland Act 2010, it is an offence to kill or injure a seal except under licence, with licensees expected to follow the principle that seals should only be shot as a last resort.
A total of 61 licences, permitting the shooting of a maximum of 878 grey seals and 289 common seals, were granted last year to fish farms, wild salmon netting companies and sports fishing interests.
Mr Ottaway said: “Under the government’s new scheme, a staggering 884 seals or more have been shot in just two years, allegedly as a ‘last resort’ measure. That’s an awful lot of last resorts and it strongly suggests nothing much is being done to curb seal shooting.”