In two rulings yesterday, the Scottish Information Commissioner, Rosemary Agnew, ordered ministers to identify the individual farms responsible for killing 185 seals in 2013 and 2014. She dismissed the government’s argument that this could put staff and their families at risk from protestors.
Her decision was welcomed as a “landmark victory” by environmental campaigners, who are urging the public to boycott salmon from seal-shooting farms. The salmon farming industry stressed, however, that shooting was “always a last resort”.
Salmon farmers, river fisheries and salmon netters are licenced to shoot seals to prevent them eating fish. Over the four years to 2014, they shot a total of 1,371 grey and harbour seals, according to figures from the Scottish Government.
For the last two years the Montrose-based salmon netting company, Usan Salmon Fisheries, has been targeted by animal right activists trying to prevent seals from being killed. Our sister paper, the Sunday Herald, revealed last month that police had sent three reports to the procurator fiscal accusing both sides of breaking the law.