Skip to content

Research at St Andrews

Assessing the potential impact of salmon fisheries management on the conservation status of harbour seals (Phoca vitulina) in north-east Scotland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Author(s)

P. M. Thompson, B. Mackey, T. R. Barton, C. Duck, J. R. A. Butler

School/Research organisations

Abstract

Conservation efforts are often constrained by uncertainty over the factors driving declines in marine mammal populations. In Scotland, there is concern over the potential impact of unrecorded shooting of seals, particularly where this occurs near Special Areas of Conservation. Here, we show that the abundance of harbour seals Phoca vitulina in the Moray Firth, north-east Scotland, declined by 2-5% per annum between 1993 and 2004. Records from local salmon fisheries and aquaculture sites indicated that 66-327 harbour seals were shot each year between 1994 and 2002. Matrix models and estimates of potential biological removal indicate that this level of shooting is sufficient to explain observed declines. Nevertheless, uncertainty over the number and identity of seals shot means that other factors such as changes in food availability may be contributing. Recent conservation measures markedly reduced the recorded levels of shooting in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, a coordinated management plan was developed to protect salmon fisheries interests while minimizing impacts on local seal populations. Comprehensive monitoring of future population trends and improved regulation of culls are now required to provide more robust assessments of the impact of human persecution on harbour seal populations in the Moray Firth and in other parts of the UK.

Close

Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-56
Number of pages9
JournalAnimal Conservation
Volume10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007

    Research areas

  • marine mammal-fisheries interactions, seal culls, salmon, Habitats Directive, special area of conservation, POPULATION-DYNAMICS, TORRES STRAIT, TRENDS, ABUNDANCE, DECLINES, SUSTAINABILITY, HARVEST, AREAS, AGE

Discover related content
Find related publications, people, projects and more using interactive charts.

View graph of relations

Related by author

  1. Harbour Seal Decline – vital rates and drivers. Report to Scottish Government HSD2.

    Arso Civil, M., Smout, S. C., Thompson, D., Brownlow, A., Davison, N., Doeschate, M., Duck, C. D., Morris, C., Cummings, C., McConnell, B. J. & Hall, A. J., 2017, Sea Mammal Research Unit. 35 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportOther report

  2. Phenological sensitivity to climate across taxa and trophic levels

    Thackeray, S. J., Henrys, P. A., Hemming, D., Bell, J. R., Botham, M. S., Burthe, S., Helaouet, P., Johns, D. G., Jones, I. D., Leech, D. I., Mackay, E. B., Massimino, D., Atkinson, S., Bacon, P. J., Brereton, T. M., Carvalho, L., Clutton-Brock, T. H., Duck, C., Edwards, M., Elliott, J. M. & 11 othersHall, S. J. G., Harrington, R., Pearce-Higgins, J. W., Høye, T. T., Kruuk, L. E. B., Pemberton, J. M., Sparks, T. H., Thompson, P. M., White, I., Winfield, I. J. & Wanless, S., 14 Jul 2016, In : Nature. 535, 7611, p. 241-245 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Harbour Seal Decline - vital rates and drivers: Report to Scottish Government MMSS/002/15

    Arso Civil, M., Smout, S. C., Duck, C. D., Morris, C., Onoufriou, J., Thompson, D., Brownlow, A., Davison, N., Cummings, C., Pomeroy, P., McConnell, B. J. & Hall, A. J., Jun 2016, SMRU. 63 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report

Related by journal

  1. Animal Conservation (Journal)

    Monica Arso Civil (Reviewer)
    Mar 2017

    Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial work typesPeer review of manuscripts

Related by journal

  1. Fishing for the facts: river dolphin bycatch in a small-scale freshwater fishery in Bangladesh

    Dewhurst-Richman, N. I., Jones, J. P. G., Northridge, S., Ahmed, B., Brook, S., Freeman, R., Jepson, P., Mahood, S. P. & Turvey, S. T., 1 Aug 2019, In : Animal Conservation. Early View

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. Can fear conditioning repel California sea lions from fishing activities?

    Schakner, Z. A., Götz, T., Janik, V. M. & Blumstein, D. T., Oct 2017, In : Animal Conservation. 20, 5, p. 425-432 8 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  3. Landscape-scale effects of single- and multiple small wind turbines on bat activity

    Minderman, J., Gillis, M., Daly, H. & Park, K., Oct 2017, In : Animal Conservation. 20, 5, p. 455-462

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  4. Rebuilding beluga stocks in West Greenland

    Heide-Jørgensen, M. P., Hansen, R. G., Fossette, S., Nielsen, N. H., Borchers, D. L., Stern, H. & Witting, L., Jun 2017, In : Animal Conservation. 20, 3, p. 282-293 11 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

ID: 661579