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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-09141
Asked by: Alexander Burnett, Aberdeenshire West, Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party
Date lodged: 23 June 2022


To ask the Scottish Government, in light of reported concerns over the impact of seals entering rivers, what information it has on where in Scotland the seal, Spearmint, is due to be relocated to; how seals released from captivity, or which have had previous interaction with humans, are monitored and assessed for any (a) unusual behaviour and (b) impact on their local environment, including foraging in rivers, and whether it will provide details of any such monitoring to date.

Current status: Answered by Mairi McAllan on 5 July 2022


The juvenile grey seal Spearmint was released on the Farne Islands, Northumberland on 30 June 2022.

Grey seals are regularly found injured or sick along the UK coastline. In most cases these animals are taken to rescue centres where, following a period of rehabilitation, are released back to the wild at the locations where they are found. The Scottish Government is not aware of any monitoring that takes place with regards to the release of rehabilitated seals from these centres.

Grey seals are widely distributed around the Scottish coast and in some limited cases, individual animals may enter river systems. The Scottish Government recognises that seal predation is one of several pressures affecting wild salmon in rivers, which is why it continues to work with the sector, stakeholders and scientific community to explore practical ways to address these interactions.