Salmon farmers in Scotland will be banned from shooting seals and face tougher controls on using acoustic devices to scare them off under stricter wildlife protection laws. Scottish ministers are introducing the measures due to fears the US could ban Scottish salmon imports because killing and harming seals will breach US regulations protecting the welfare of marine mammals in the wild. The Scottish government and fish farmers have come under pressure from ecologists and animal welfare campaigners to bar fish farmers from shooting and scaring seals to stop them breaking into salmon pens. Scottish Natural Heritage, the government conservation agency, has told ministers there is significant scientific evidence the acoustic deterrent devices (ADDs), which emit tones underwater to scare off seals, can cause hearing damage and stress in dolphins, porpoises and whales – breaching legislation to protect cetaceans. Ministers in Edinburgh will promise to table plans to licence and control the use of ADDs by the end of March next year. The latest data shows 31 seals were shot under licence in the first three months of 2020, double that of last year. The Scottish Salmon Producers Organisation (SSPO) said seal predation and net breaches lead to 500,000 lost […]

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