News from the Humane Society International (HSI) shared that Scotland banned seal shooting by the fisheries industry on June 17. Many seals are shot annually in Scotland in the name of protecting commercial fisheries.

Scottish Parliament approved the bill, which amends the Marine Scotland Act. The bill repeals licenses for the shooting of seals as well as increases the penalty for illegal seal shooting. The penalty is now 12 months and £40,000 fine. According to HSI, the government estimates 1,917 seals have been shot to protect fisheries since 2011.

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Humane Society International’s Senior Marine Scientist Mark Simmonds OBE, said in an emailed statement, “An alarming number of seals are shot and killed in Scottish waters, and there is evidence that some are likely to be injured and die a slow and painful death at sea and may not show up in the official statistics. It’s a huge concern and so a ban on seal shooting in Scotland is critically important for seal welfare in British waters. HSI has worked for many years to provide the solid scientific evidence needed to demonstrate the welfare impact on seals, so it is really excellent news that Scottish lawmakers have listened and put an end to the licensed seal cull in order to protect them from this cruelty.

“We share our seas with these charismatic marine mammals, and it is simply unacceptable to kill them for eating the fish in their ocean home. It is important that this ban comes swiftly into force and that the situation is carefully and independently monitored to ensure there is not a spike in seal killing in the run-up to its implementation, or indeed illegal killing afterwards. Benign methods to keep seals away from fish farms will need to be deployed and carefully observed to ensure that they are safe.”

Read more about seals and fisheries in One Green Planet, check out these articles:

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