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SCOS Advice

Scientific Advice on Seal Populations


Photo of a grey seal pup

Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (Consequential Provisions) Order 2010, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has a duty to provide scientific advice to the Scottish Government on matters related to the management of seal populations. NERC has appointed a Special Committee on Seals (SCOS) to formulate this advice so that it may discharge this statutory duty.

Formal advice is given annually, informed by the latest scientific information provided to SCOS by the Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU - a NERC Collaborative Centre at the University of St Andrews). SMRU also provides government with scientific reviews of applications for licences to shoot seals, along with information and advice in response to parliamentary questions and correspondence.

The annual reports from SCOS consist of general information on Scottish seals, information on their current status, and address questions raised by the Scottish Government. The Scottish Seals Forum contributes actively to the development of these questions.