Proposals for seal protection zones

SBBN-03-07-14 Seal protection Zones
SBBN-03-07-14 Seal protection Zones
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The Scottish Wildlife Trust has welcomed a proposal for sites that will protect Berwickshire’s seals from harassment when they come ashore.

The stretch of coastline between Dunbar and Eyemouth, as well as the rocky area at the foot of the cliffs between Coldingham Loch and Cove Harbour form part of the proposed protection zones.

They were selected by the Scottish Government, based on advice from experts at the Sea Mammal Research Unit at the University of St Andrews, along with 192 other sites around Scotland.

The so-called ‘haul-out sites’ are places where seals come onto land to rest, breed or moult. During these activities they are particularly vulnerable to human interference.

Around a third of the world’s grey seals breed in Scottish colonies. The country holds nearly a quarter of the European harbour seal population, although several areas have seen major declines, with numbers down by 75% in Orkney, 30% in Shetland, and 85% in the Firth of Tay since 2000.

Living Seas Policy Officer for the Scottish Wildlife Trust, Alex Kinninmonth, said: “Seals should be free from harassment wherever they are, but the designation of these haul-out sites is certainly a step in the right direction.”