A CALL has been made by environment agency NatureScot for people in the south mainland to be aware of legislation which protects the local seal population from harassment and disturbance.
The appeal has been made after the popular seal haul out at Rerwick was again used as a playground by people on quad bikes.
Karen Hall from the local NatureScot office said the beach south of the hamlet of Rerwick was a designated seal haul out and protected by law.
“This is one of the best sites in Shetland to observe seals without causing disturbance. It is regularly used by 20 upwards animals at any one time. It really is a good location to observe both species of seals,” the marine ecology adviser said.
“Behaviour such as driving quad bikes on the beach when seals are present would constitute on offence – so please don’t do it.
“Obviously, there is a balance to be struck between access to beaches and stretches of coastline, but people have to be mindful that some of these beaches are protected, and animals can be disturbed by certain activities.
“These places are protected by the Marine Scotland Act; and the offence could be harassment or deliberate disturbance, so driving a mechanical vehicle at seals would count as harassment.”
She said her office will report this latest incident to Police Scotland. In the past local police have investigated similar incidents and are known to have had “a word” with local people.
Hall added: “If people do witness any disturbance at this location or elsewhere, they should contact the police on telephone 101.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 530 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News