Under Section 129 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 a report on a review of the operation of the seal licensing system is required within 5 years of Section 110 of the Act coming into force on 1 September 2010.
In reality, the seal licensing system became fully operational with the issue of the first seal licences on 31 January 2011. The period from 1 September 2010 to 31 January 2011 was introduced to allow time for seal licence application forms to be prepared, completed and submitted by applicants and for Marine Scotland to consult with experts on seal management, conservation and fisheries or aquaculture (as appropriate) and for all applications and comments to be fully considered in deciding on whether or not to issue a licence.
This report therefore considers only 4 complete licensing years, namely 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014, rather than 5 and covers the period from 31 January 2011 to 31 January 2015.
The report considers all aspects of the operation of the seal licensing system including all developments and improvements that took place during the period, previous interim reviews into the operation of the system and any significant changes made in the light of all of these.