Partnering Against Wildlife Crime

Predators


Seals

There are two species of seals in UK waters, grey seals and harbour seals. Both are present within the Moray Firth. There is a growing concern in regard to the impact these species have on salmon populations. Fishery boards face challenges regarding this species. Non-lethal scaring techniques are becoming popular, however there are some instances in which non-lethal control is ineffective (such as when a seal has specialized in preying upon salmon and will enter rivers to pursue these fish). In such cases, Marine Scotland grants licenses for the shooting of seals, only when there is damage to the fishery and no non-lethal alternative. The Kyle of Sutherland DSFB is a partner in the Moray Firth Seal Management Plan, which is a collaborative initiative which aims to manage seal numbers at a level that maintains the integrity of the seal populations.


American Mink

Mink is an invasive non-native species (INNS) which was released in the UK after escaping from fur farms. Since then it has spread and has a wide distribution across Scotland. Mink have decimated populations of water voles in some areas, but will also prey on a number of other species such as ground nesting birds and salmonid species. As such, this INNS poses a great threat to Scottish wildlife, and the best solution is eradication of the species. Kyle Fisheries was involved with the Scottish Mink Initiative (now the Scottish Invasive Species Initiative), and is still vigilant. If you think you have seen a mink within the catchment, we would appreciate if you could report it to us. Please include the location and date you saw it, even if you are unsure if it was a mink we can still put out a mink raft to identify it.

 


Piscivorous Birds

Sawbill ducks (goosanders, mergansers) and cormorants are known to prey on salmonid fish. Smolts caught in smolt traps sometimes exhibit beak marks, evidence of a lucky escape from an encounter with such a bird.

In order to prevent serious damage to the fishery, SNH can grant a license for shooting a small number of these birds in support of scaring activities. Non-lethal scaring, such as the use of gas guns and blank cartridges are also employed in this area.