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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 June, 2004, 06:05 GMT 07:05 UK
Anger at fishermen seal cull plan
Seal pup - Picture: Elaine Roft/BDMLR
Seals are blamed for damaging nets
Fishermen in Torbay claim seals are damaging their nets and a cull may be necessary to control their numbers.

The inshore net fishermen say the seals are destroying their livelihood.

The idea has angered animal welfare groups and tourism officials. British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) have also opposed the cull.

But the fishermen could be free to shoot the seals because the law allows killing in certain circumstances.

We want to work with the fishermen to prevent the seals being shot
Tony Woodley, BDMLR

The Conservation of Seals Act says killing seals is allowed if they are causing damage to fishing nets.

But Tony Woodley, of the BDMLR, said alternative deterrents were available.

He said: "We want to work with the fishermen to prevent the seals being shot.

"There is a noise device which should deter the seals. That could be the first step.

"Trying to deter seals from damaging nets or taking fish from nets by shooting is ineffective in the long term as other seals will repopulate the area."

None of the fishermen behind the move were prepared to be interviewed, but Keith Bower of Devon Sea Fisheries, said he could understand why fishermen wanted a cull.

He said: "They just bite the heads off the fish and it ruins the nets.

"It is like someone driving a car through your shop window."

Fishermen support seal cull call
25 Apr 04  |  Scotland
Canada completes main seal cull
14 Apr 04  |  Americas
Canada embarks on mass seal hunt
13 Apr 04  |  Americas

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