Part 6 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 seeks to balance seal conservation with other pressures and requirements, such as species conservation. On 1 February 2021 changes to Part 6 came into force which removed two reasons for which licences to kill or take seals could be granted. These are protecting the health and welfare of farmed fish and preventing serious damage to fisheries and fish farms:
- it is an offence to kill or injure a seal except under licence or to alleviate suffering
- a number of seal conservation areas around Scotland have been introduced, designed to protect vulnerable, declining Harbour seal populations
- a seal licensing system, providing a well-regulated and monitored context for seal management in Scotland is in operation
The documents in the sub-collections below comprise information, guidance and forms relating to these areas.
The following two graphs show:
- the comparison between the numbers requested in seal management applications and the actual numbers granted by Marine Scotland from 2011 to 2021
- the comparison between the numbers granted in the licence against actual numbers shot from 2011 to 2021
About seal licensing and the seal management system
General and background information.
Map of the areas of the Scottish Government's seal management system and details relating to the Potential Biological Removal (PBR) values in each.
- Seal licensing privacy notice
Applying for a licence
All persons that wish to manage seal predation in order to conserve seal, or other wild animals (including wild birds) or wild plants must apply for an annual seal licence using the form below. Applicants should read the accompanying guidance notes.
Applicants must be aware of Scotland's seal management areas.
Applications can be made between 21 January and 18 February for the following licence period, which runs from May to April.
Persons that wish to apply for a licence to kill or take seals for any other licensable purpose should contact MS-LOT.
Guidance notes for applications for a licence authorising the killing or taking of seals under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010: Part 6 - conservation of seals.
Records of licences issued
Yearly records of the numbers of seal license applications processed since the introduction of the scheme.
Excel spreadsheets containing detailed breakdowns of the returns from license holders.
Return forms for members of the public involved in the Scottish Government's seal management scheme.
Reviews of the seal licensing system
Under Section 129 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 a report on a review of the operation of the seal licensing system was required within 5 years of Section 110 of the Act coming into force on 1 September 2010.
In 2015 a report was published that considered all aspects of the seal licensing system during the period from 2011-14.
In 2020, the second review of the seal licensing system was published, covering the period from 2015 to 2020.