Released to press on 07 July 2015
Animal welfare charity OneKind has welcomed a decision today (Tuesday) by the Scottish Information Commissioner (SIC) to require disclosure of data relating to seal shootings by salmon farms.
Following the ruling on an appeal by salmon farm campaign group GAAIA, Scottish Ministers will now have until 21 August to publish figures showing the numbers of seals shot by salmon farms. Earlier this year OneKind wrote to the Commissioner to voice concerns that data relating to seal licence returns from both farms and fisheries were no longer publicly available.
Policy Director, Libby Anderson said: “It is essential that information about actual seal shootings is publicly available in order to ensure accountability by licence holders and by the issuing body, Marine Scotland.
“The killing of seals as they perform their natural predator behaviour has long been beset by animal suffering and negative impacts on populations, and any measure that helps to mitigate those effects is to be supported.”
OneKind had considerable involvement in the passage of the seal licensing provisions under the Marine (Scotland) 2010 Act and believes it is essential for the public to be able to monitor the licensing system so that it provides a reasonably effective and humane approach and to ensure government action is maintained.
Libby Anderson added: “Interest groups need to be able to scrutinise the information in order to identify the nature of the problem in different sectors of the fish industry. Principles discussed during the passage of the Marine Scotland Bill, such as killing a seal only as a last resort when all non-lethal methods have been tried and shown to have failed, need to be independently monitored.”
Notes to editor
The Scottish Information Commissioner’s decision can be read in full here.
For further information or photographs please contact Sarah Moyes on 0131 661 firstname.lastname@example.org