3. Requirements of the review
Under section 129 of the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, Scottish Ministers are required to review and publish a report on the operation of the seal licensing regime every five years. The first review was published on 3 September 2015, therefore the second review must be published within five years or by September 2020 at the latest.
Section 129(2) states that when carrying out a review, Scottish Ministers must have regard to scientific evidence on seal biology, welfare and behaviour, and on other matters they consider relevant.
3.1 Scope of review
This review considers the operation of the licensing system for the period from February 2015 to August 2020 and makes recommendations for the future licensing system.
The review will consider all aspects of the operation of the seal licensing system including all developments and improvements that took place during the period, previous reviews into the operation of the system and any significant changes made in the light of all of these.
3.2 Review methodology
The review was led by the Marine Planning and Policy Division within Marine Scotland, which is responsible for seal licensing policy. Evidence on each of the review topics was collected from Marine Scotland, the seal management portal, published data on seal licensing, and external sources.