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Last Updated: Thursday, 9 November 2006, 17:55 GMT
Further call for seal cull debate
Cod
The association said seals are eating more cod than they catch
The Mallaig and North-west Fishermen's Association has added its voice to a call for a debate on a seal cull.

Culling was stopped in the late 1970s and fishermen have said seals are to blame for declining numbers of commercial fish stocks.

Grey seals are protected under the EC Habitats Directive.

Edinburgh-based animal protection organisation, Advocate for Animals, said there was "no scientific justification" for a cull.

The Scottish Executive said the seal population has increased since 1985, but added that further studies must be done on their impact.

Fish stocks

Mallaig and North-west Fishermen's Association secretary Iain Hermse said that west coast fishermen caught less than 1,000 tonnes of cod, a fraction of that eaten by seals.

However, he said seals were not seen as a threat to fish stocks.

Ross Minett, director of Advocates for Animals, said: "There is no scientific justification for a cull of Scottish seals.

"It would undoubtedly be terribly damaging to Scotland's international reputation and lead to calls for economic and tourism boycotts.

"You just need to look at the consequences of Canada's mass cull of seals or Iceland's return to commercial whaling."


SEE ALSO
Diet of grey seals under scrutiny
01 Nov 06 |  Highlands and Islands
New warning over island's seals
24 Oct 06 |  Isle of Man
Commissioner hears seal cull call
20 Oct 06 |  Scotland
Fishermen condemn North Sea ban
20 Oct 06 |  North East/N Isles
North Sea cod fishing ban urged
20 Oct 06 |  Science/Nature
Canada completes main seal cull
14 Apr 04 |  Americas
Activists blast Canada seal hunt
07 Apr 04 |  Americas
Norway suggests tourist seal hunts
07 Nov 01 |  Business

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