BBC Home
Explore the BBC



Last Updated: Monday October 12 2009 14:12 GMT

Row over fishermen shooting seals

Hayley reports on the fishermen shooting seals

A row has broken out in the north of England because fishermen are shooting seals that eat their fish.

The seals have learnt to take fish from the nets of the fishing boats. The fishermen say seals are costing them thousands of pounds every year.

The fishermen are allowed to shoot the fish if they have a licence, and if the seals are stealing their catch.

Some people don't think the seals should be killed, and want the rules changed so they are protected instead.

In other areas including Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man it's against the law to kill seals.

But in England, Scotland and Wales it's legal for fishermen to kill seals as long as they have a licence.

Tourists travel to see seals

In Northumberland thousands of people travel to the area to see the seals and some even swim with them. Those tourists spend a lot of money in the region.

The laws protecting seals in Scotland ARE being looked at but there are no plans to change the law in England - so seals in Northumberland will still have to take their chances.