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Seal licensing: application form and guidance

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.

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How to apply for a licence to conserve seals or other wild animals (including wild birds) or wild plant

This section refers to the information required as part of an application in relation to the conservation of seals or other wild animals (including wild birds) or wild plants. For any other licence types, please contact MS-LOT using the details below.

 

This information should be used in conjunction with the application form (SL1) for a seal licence authorising the killing or taking of seals to conserve seals or other wild animals (including birds) or wild plants in Scotland

When to apply for a licence

All seal licence applications must be submitted by the deadline publicised on the seal licensing pages of the Marine Scotland website, which will be at least twelve weeks prior to the period to which the seal licence applies.

How to apply for a licence

Applications will only be accepted on the correct application form (SL1) and should be sent electronically to seal.licensing@gov.scot.

Seal licence applications will not be accepted unless all sections of the seal licence application form SL1 are completed in full and accompanied by copies of firearms certificates with seal clause and either a Seal Management PDA or Moray Firth Marksman Course certificate for each marksperson.  No other documents should be submitted and all information provided in support of an application must be included on form SL1.  

A separate seal licence application must be made for each river in order that Marine Scotland - Licensing Operations Team (MS-LOT) is provided with sufficient specific details in respect of the use of non-lethal measures and for a seal licence applicant to fully describe the specific circumstances of the use of non-lethal measures and the circumstances in which a seal is considered a problem.

MS-LOT will not assist with information gathering required to complete a seal licence application.

MS-LOT will consult the Sea Mammal Research Unit and NatureScot on each seal licence application. It will also take advice from Marine Scotland Science where appropriate.

Section 1: This will be the name, organisation and address on the seal licence, if granted. 

Section 2:  The name and contact details of a person who can be contacted for any clarification required concerning the seal licence application. That person must be in a position to answer any questions that MS-LOT may have regarding the specifics of the seal licence application.

Section 3: state the species to be conserved.

The applicant must state whether they are applying for the protection of seals, wild animals or wild plants and specify which species is being protected.

Section 4: The river on which it is proposed to kill or take seals.

Use the drop down menus to select only one river and the conservation status/grade. 

Section 5: In order to identify a seal that may pose a risk to conservation of the species listed in section 3, details of the section within the river where a seal is considered a problem must be provided. That section of the river must be defined by identifiable landmarks, for example bridges or weirs. An Ordnance Survey grid reference must also be provided. This section of river must link to the method statement (see section 10).

Section 6: Provide a description of how a seal causing damage to the population of the species in section 3 will be identified. Details of the behaviour of the seal and the circumstances relevant to the river in section 4 where it would be concluded that killing or taking a seal may be required to conserve the species in section 3 must also be provided. Such evidence may include the number of sightings in the river section described in section 5, the number of times a specific seal has been observed predating on species in section 3 or the duration of presence of a seal.

Section 7: Where such data are available, provide details of the presence of seals in the river by completing the table detailing the number of seal observations by period for the river in section 4.

Section 8: Describe the use of each of the four categories of non-lethal measure to deter seals from entering the river in section 4. For each non-lethal measure, state if it has been tried or is in use on the river. If the non-lethal measure has been used, explain whether the non-lethal measure will continue to be used or, if use has been discontinued, explain why.  If the non-lethal measure has not been used or tried on the river, explain why, with reference to the specific circumstance and situation of the river.

Applications may not be processed and may be refused in the absence of attempted or tested use of non-lethal measures to deter seals from entering the river, or where an applicant does not provide suitably qualified, evidence-based, written justification of why non-lethal measures would not be effective on the specific river stated in section 4. Stating ‘not applicable’ to any of the non-lethal measure categories is not acceptable.

Section 9: Briefly describe other measures currently used to enhance conservation of the species in section 3 and how the killing or taking of seals fits into the wider management of the river in section 4. Such measures may include catch and release practices, habitat restoration or control of invasive non-native species.  Use this section of the application form to provide the description of the measures taken and do not provide copies of other reports. 

Section 10:  Explain why it is necessary to kill or take seals to conserve the species in section 3. This section should be used to describe the conservation status of the species you are seeking to conserve in section 3 within the river in section 4, the impact of seals on the species and how the killing or taking of seals is necessary for the conservation of the species. Provide justification for the number of seals being requested, with reference to the presence of seals and any other actions taken to deter seals on the river in section 4.

Section 11: Provide the maximum number of seals of each species being applied for to potentially kill or take within the section of river described in section 5 per year.

MS-LOT will consider the requested numbers alongside the other information provided in the application form and the annual Permitted Biological Removal for each seal species when determining the application.

Section 12: The method statement must demonstrate how killing or taking of seals is the last resort in the section of the river described in section 5, with reference to the description of the behaviour of the seal and the circumstances in section 6. Describe the non-lethal measures that will be used to attempt to deter a seal in the specified section of river. Demonstrate that non-lethal measures will be attempted for every seal identified within the river described in section 5 and how they have been shown to be ineffective before a seal is killed or taken.  State how the carcass will be recovered and disposed of if it is determined that the only course of action is to kill a seal.  Adherence to this method statement will be a condition of a seal licence if granted.

Section 13: Confirmation that the information is accurate and copies of firearms certificates and either a Seal Management PDA from the University of Highlands and Islands or a Moray Firth Marksman Course certificate for each marksperson have been supplied.

Contact

Email: seal.licensing@gov.scot

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