The Scottish Government licenses fishermen, netting stations and fish farmers to shoot seals to protect fish in the event that other methods to deter them are unsuccessful.
A very small number of seals can be persistent killers, resulting in the slow and painful deaths of thousands of fish.
Fortunately, the methods to deter seals are generally very effective. As a result, the number of occasions when a persistent seal has to be shot on a fish farm has fallen and continues to fall. In 2016, 75 seals were shot across 214 individual fish farms.
- Methods to deter seals on fish farms include keeping nets well-tensioned, acoustic devices and, where permitted by the Local Authorities, anti-predator nets.
- The number of seals shot by river fisheries, netting stations and fish farms has been made public since 2011. The Scottish Government publishes these statistics online on a quarterly basis.
- Licences are granted by the Scottish Government on the basis that seals are only shot as a last resort.
- Images: Results of seal attack on salmon – Marine wildlife round salmon farms