Seal numbers out of control

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I WAS recently fortunate enough to be able to sit on the beach at the entrance to Loch Fleet Nature Reserve. After 
the tide turned on this very narrow entrance it became the hunting ground for eight seals. They fished for two hours and were still there when I left. A sea trout almost jumped onto the beach beside me at one point with a small seal close on his tail. Occasionally a seal would pop his head up with a salmon and bite it behind the head to presumably kill it to eat later – although goodness knows where its carcass would have ended up with the strong tide which was running. Meanwhile, a flock of seabirds hovered and dived above them, picking up remnants of fish.

On many days on my way into Tain I see upwards of 200 seals at low tide below Glenmorangie distillery. On my way across the Cromarty Bridge I am able to count almost as many. This scene is repeated in many estuaries and river mouths around our island.

Where once there were many commercial nets men operating around our coastline and keeping these very large “selkies” (as the Shetlanders call them) at manageable 
levels, there appears now to be zero control.

Any population which is 
increasing, ie deer, hedgehogs etc, is normally kept in check. While there should be a balance struck between sense and sensibility, it would appear in this case that the lunatics have taken over the asylum.

At one point on this island nation we used to deploy 
submarine nets. Could an adaption of this not be put into place? This solution could satisfy anglers and seal lovers.

David Catto, Ardgay, Sutherland

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