This article was originally written and published by Sea Shepherd UK
Sea Shepherd UK is offering a £5000 reward for photographic or video evidence leading to the successful prosecution of employees, representatives, contractors or agents of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company (AKA - Usan Salmon Fisheries Limited) or any companies or individuals for illegally killing iconic Scottish seals.
Sea Shepherd UK is currently engaged in our Scottish Seal Defence Campaign based near Banff in Aberdeenshire. We are extremely pleased that the Scottish Wild Salmon Company has announced that they are currently not taking out firearms in order to shoot seals in Gamrie Bay, this is solely due to the presence of our campaign crew who have been monitoring their activities to ensure that no seals are killed. However, the Scottish Wild Salmon Company needs to understand that Sea Shepherd is relentless in its mission to defend ocean wildlife, and we will extend our Scottish Seal Defence Campaign for as long as the seals need protection.
The government of Scotland provides companies, including the Scottish Wild Salmon Company, with licenses to kill seals. However, the legislation requires that seals may only be shot as a last resort after all other methods of control have been applied. The actions of the fishing companies themselves are attracting seals to the salmon. Seals in this particular area do not typically eat salmon, but are being drawn by the large catches of salmon trapped in nets.
Scottish Wild Salmon Company has a non-lethal solution available for us in the form of Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs), and they have recently announced they will now rely on ADDs at other Salmon netting sites. Unfortunately, bullets are always cheaper and easier than non-lethal alternatives. Although shooting seals in Gamrie bay is currently suspended due to Sea Shepherd UK’s monitoring and patrols – the shooting of seals could return if we were to leave (which we have no intention of doing).
Why does it take policing by an NGO to make companies do the right thing under the law? Without effective policing by Marine Scotland (the agency responsible for the seal killing licenses), it is left to Sea Shepherd to once again uphold national and international laws which governments neither cannot, nor will not enforce.
David Scott, Director of Sea Shepherd UK stated, “Since the Scottish seal cull resumed in January 2011, Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd has slaughtered more seals than any other firm holding licences to kill these wonderfully friendly and inquisitive animals. The damage they are doing to Scotland’s reputation as a world leading eco-tourism destination cannot be overstated. The damage to the local seal population is evident for all to see.”
The Scottish people recently voted for the seals to be one of Scotland’s Big 5 iconic species, and by needlessly slaughtering beautiful Scottish seals the Scottish Wild Salmon Company is damaging Scotland’s image around the world.
The only course of action for the Scottish Wild Salmon Company is to immediately relinquish their seal killing licences and publically announce that they are now a seal-friendly company.
In order to qualify for any Sea Shepherd reward, the information or evidence provided must directly lead to the apprehension and conviction of the person(s) responsible for the crime and the case for which information is supplied must still be open with the appropriate authorities. Law enforcement officers (and any persons who obtain such information by way of their occupation) are not eligible for Sea Shepherd rewards.
To encourage local residents to help defend their seals - Sea Shepherd UK is also offering £100 for new (taken after 27th April 2014) clear images or video of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company shooting seals within their current licence conditions in Gamrie Bay.
To submit information or evidence on the illegal killing of seals by the Scottish Wild Salmon Company or any other company or individuals - please e-mail Sea Shepherd UK’s campaign crew at: [email protected] including as many details, clear photographs and video as possible.