Under the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 (the Act), section 107, it is an offence intentionally or recklessly to kill, injure or take any seal except under specific licence or for animal welfare reasons to alleviate suffering.
Under section 110 of the Act, Scottish Ministers have the authority to grant licences to permit the killing or taking of seals for the following purposes:
- for scientific, research or educational purposes
- to conserve natural habitats
- to conserve seals or other wild animals (including wild birds) or wild plants
- in connection with the introduction of seals, other wild animals (including wild birds) or wild plants to particular areas
- to protect a zoological or botanical collection
- to prevent the spread of disease among seals or other animals (including birds) or plants
- to preserve public health or public safety
- for other imperative reasons of overriding public interest, including those of a social or economic nature and beneficial consequences of primary importance for the environment
It is not an offence to kill or take a seal in accordance with a seal licence.
Marine Scotland is the licensing authority for granting licences to kill or take seals for any of the purposes listed above.
The following guidance is intended to assist applicants and prospective applicants in understanding the requirements to be considered for a licence.