SCOTTISH animal welfare charity SSPCA are appealing for information about the killing of seals by salmon companies after a raid on a fish farm in Shetland last week.
SSPCA officers raided Hoganess Salmon, near Walls, on Shetland’s west side after reports that seals had been killed illegally. They were supported by the local police and staff from Scottish Natural Heritage.
The raid comes in the wake of an ongoing inquiry into the death of around 6,000 fish at the Hoganess site in August last year.
In January the SSPCA formally charged regional manager Graham McNally and site manager Ross Morrison with breaching the Animal Health and Welfare Act 2006 over the treatment of salmon for sea lice, however the case has yet to reach court.
At the weekend SSPCA chief superintendent Mike Flynn confirmed that the organisation is now investigating breaches of the law regarding the treatment of seals.
Mr Flynn said: “We can confirm that we are leading an investigation, in partnership with Northern Constabulary and Scottish Natural Heritage, regarding illegal activity in connection with seals in Shetland.
“Our enquiries are ongoing and we would urge anyone with information to contact our animal helpline on 03000 999 999. All calls are treated in the strictest confidence.”
This year the government introduced a new licensing system for salmon farms to shoot seals with eight licences granted to salmon farms in Shetland.
Further investigations into last year’s salmon deaths are being carried by the environment watchdog SEPA as well as Marine Scotland.
After the salmon deaths, Hoganess Salmon’s parent company Lakeland was sold to the Norwegian/Polish multinational Morpol. It has now been grouped with the company’s other UK fish farms into the Meridian Salmon Group.
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