The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency decided this year that we should shoot 630 harbor seals, 1500 gray seals and 350 ringed seals.
Some think that is far too few, others are worried that the seal population will fail again. We asked the scientists and got different answers.
On gray seal hunting; “The hunting method can help to reduce conflicts between gray seals and humans in the regions where gray seals are densely populated and in this way contribute to maintaining the acceptance of gray seals in the Swedish fauna.”
On hunting harbor seals: “The species has a negative impact on fishing and in particular small-scale commercial fishing. Damage to fishing gear and the catch in the gear as well as declining fish stocks are all considered to contribute to lower profitability for fishing. In addition, recreational fishing (domestic fishing as well as sport fishing) in Sweden is also judged to be negatively affected by the harbor seal.”
About protective hunting of ringed seals: “The Swedish Environmental Protection Agency has received reports from the county administrations in Norrbotten County and Västerbotten County that the impact of ringed seals on fishing is very large. /—/ The presence of the seal probably also causes reduced catches under certain circumstances because it stays close to the gear and therefore scares the fish but the extent of this effect is not known.”
Source: the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency