Just over 2100 seals may be shot in this years hunt

12 April, 2023

For the second year in a row, the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has decided on licensed hunting for grey seals and harbor seals. During this year’s hunt, 1,500 grey seals and 630 harbor seals may be shot to reduce the number of injuries in commercial and recreational fishing in Sweden.

“The seals represent tangible damage to fishing,” says Hanna Ek, deputy head of the Wildlife Management Unit at the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency, to TT.

At the same time, the number of seals in this year’s hunt has been reduced following consultation with “Havs- och vattenmyndigheten”.

“They have called for smaller quotas and we have accepted that. At the same time, there is a large margin,” says Ek, who is not worried that too many seals will be shot.

Harbor Seal Hunting on the West Coast

The total number of grey seals in the Baltic Sea is estimated to be between 49,000 and 61,000, while the number of harbor seals in the Kattegatt and Skagerrak is estimated to be around 20,400 in total.

A total of 630 harbor seals may be killed in the upcoming licensed hunt on the west coast, of which 400 will be in Västra Götaland, 200 in Halland, and 30 in parts of Skåne.

For ringed seals, who also cause extensive damage to fishing nets and fishing gear, protective hunting has been granted for 350 animals out of an estimated population of at least 15,000.

Protective hunting may only be used to limit local damage and is primarily conducted against animals that have caused particular damage, while licensed hunting may take place over larger areas and for a longer period of time.

Protective Hunting is Enough

Hanna Ek sees no problem with the legislation only allowing protective hunting of vultures. “It’s no worry. It is also relatively new with licensed hunting, and it is simply two different tools,” she says.

The number of coveys is estimated to decrease in the future due to melting sea ice, ice that the coveys depend on during their spawning period.

Last year was the first year that licensed hunting for harbor seals was granted following a government decision the year before. The reason was growing seal populations in several parts of the country.

Tina Remius Strömberg/TT/Nyhetsbyrån

License hunting for gray seals:

20 April–20 May 2023

6 June 2023–15 January 2024

License hunting for harbor seals:

20 April–20 May 2023

1 September 2023–19 April 2024

Protective hunting of ringed seals:

1 May 2023–15 January 2024

Source: Swedish Environmental Protection Agency

Text: Tina Remius Strömberg/TT/Nyhetsbyrån
Photo: Claus Gertsen/TT Arkivbild

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