Home Forums Blogs Members MyPage

Alarming Decline In Seal Population In Scotland And Britain


There are actually two types of seals in the UK and Scotland that make permanent homes there. On occasion other seals will stop in while making their way to different homes. Unfortunately because of indiscriminate killing of seals there has been a big decline in the population. Many people are not aware how the seal population is being affected by the shooting that is allowed by fishermen. They believe seals are protected by the Conservation of Seals Act of 1970. This act was intended to protect seals, but it is falling short. Something more is needed to keep seal populations growing instead of declining.

Types of Seals in Scotland and Britain

There are two main types of seals that are found in Scotland and Great Britain. They are the grey seal and the harbor seal or common seal. It is the common seal that is seeing a decline in population. There are approximately 55,000 harbor seals in the Scotland and Great Britain area this is a decline of past counts. The grey seals are estimated to be around 120,000. This is around 36% of the world population. There is 5% of the world population of harbor seals.

Common or Harbor Seals

Harbor seals are members of the pinniped family. This actually means winged feet. They get their name from the shape of their feet. Harbor seals are more solitary than other species of seals but they will form in small groups when basking. Common seals spend most of their lives in the water, where there are many perils. They are a favorite food of Great White Sharks and Killer Whales. With the high number of natural predators, there is no reason mankind has to add to their demise.

In 1988 nearly 1/3 of the seal population vanished due to disease. Again in 2002 another 30,000 died. During this period the UK government stepped in and upheld the Conservation of Seals Act by stopping all killing of seals. This was short lived however and now fishermen are once again killing seals to protect their fisheries.

Grey Seals

Grey Seals are larger than harbor seals and tend to enjoy each other's company. They are the largest meat eater in the UK. As carnivores they usually stick to fish, shellfish, eels and octopus for their meals. Seals can dive deep so if there are no fish to be found near the surface they will dive to deep depths to hunt. They are able to hold their breath for a long period of time. A male grey seal will be about 2.3 metres in length. Females of the same species will be much smaller at 1.8 metres in length.