As predicted by Sea Shepherd on Good Friday, the killing team of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company escalated tensions in the Scottish seal killing grounds with an unprecedented attack on a member of Sea Shepherd UK’s campaign crew.
As residents of Gardenstown were preparing for breakfast on Easter Monday, Sea Shepherd crewmembers were already being threatened with violence by the Scottish Wild Salmon Company’s seal killers.
In a dramatic 8 a.m. confrontation which took place away from the Harbour in the town’s New Ground, three employees of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company, one carrying a rifle, cornered just one of our crewmembers, leaving him fearful of extreme violence.
The crewmember had the presence of mind to keep his camera running throughout, and the situation was saved when other members of the Sea Shepherd campaign crew arrived with their own cameras. Realizing that any further illegal acts on their part were being recorded, the thugs backed away and returned to their command base.
Sea Shepherd UK has now reported the situation and shown video footage to Police Scotland. Sea Shepherd UK is confident that charges can now be brought against the ringleader of the Scottish Wild Salmon Company’s out-of-control thugs.
Given the escalating situation, Sea Shepherd UK has now asked the Hunt Saboteurs Association to reactivate their undercover teams as well as introduce new covert operatives to the area. Other Sea Shepherd volunteers and specialist intervention teams are also now heading to Banffshire in order to defend Scottish seals from these violent people.
The Scottish government issues companies such as the Scottish Wild Salmon Company with licenses to shoot seals, which they claim threaten fish stocks. However the legislation requires that seals may only ever be shot as a last resort after all other methods of control have been applied. The actions of these companies themselves are drawing seals to the salmon. Seals in this area do not normally eat salmon, but when salmon netting companies trap wild fish in large numbers, it is only natural that the captured fish attract seals. As we’ve seen with the sea lions on the Columbia River on the Oregon/Washington border here in the U.S., these animals are being targeted for the simple “crime” of eating fish. Moreover, the wild salmon that are heading up the coast are being caught by fishermen before they have a chance to spawn, so the fishing itself is killing this particular fishery and is therefore completely unsustainable.
The non-lethal solution is to deploy Acoustic Deterrent Devices (ADDs), which the Scottish Wild Salmon Company does have available to them. Unfortunately, lethal bullets are cheaper than the non-lethal alternative, and so, without effective policing by Marine Scotland (the agency responsible for the seal killing licenses), it is left to Sea Shepherd to once again uphold national and international laws which governments neither can't nor won't enforce.