The purpose of this work was to provide a robust analysis and synthesis of the management measures utilised for predators within the UK and globally. Such work supports the Scottish fishing and fish farming industries in creating an open dialogue with the Scottish government to develop a balanced approach to seal management and conservation within Scotland.
Within this work we developed a clear and amenable understanding of the contemporary and likely future impact of seals on Scottish fisheries, including examining the range of techniques which have been deemed suitable for different predator species, as well as what decisions were made to undertake such management actions, and whether such actions have been successful, reviewing and assessing UK conservation and management measures to control predator species, and identifying the main measures and outcomes in managing such species
Importantly, we also provided as clear roadmap of recommendations to enhance the dialogue between the aquauclture and capture fisheries industries and Scottish government with regards to seal management. These were:
> Recommendation 1: Development of management measures in which potential predators are removed or reduced in abundance must be substantially developed by using clear, rigorous and independently verifiable data that shows the impact (ecological and economic) of the predator on the prey populations.
> Recommendation 2: There is a clear need to detail the main problem that predator management would alleviate.
> Recommendation 3: Discussion of management measures that will impact predator populations (lethal or non-lethal) must be supported by substantial assessment of both predator and prey populations.
> Recommendation 4: Any development of discussions must engage with all stakeholders that are directly and indirectly associated with either the predator or prey species.
> Recommendation 5: To ensure that any management measure is applicable, but also grounded in science, there is a need to develop all management measures through the use of expert working groups.
> Recommendation 6: There must be clear development of management measures that have long term solutions, as there is little impetus (and little efficacy) in the development of management measures that are only ‘short term’ in their outcome.
> Recommendation 7: Management of predator populations (either lethally or non-lethally) is not the only route to success.
> Recommendation 8: Undertaking any actions to develop management measures to mitigate conflict between predators and prey will potentially be financially expensive.
> Recommendation 9: Any management measures undertaken must be developed within a package of measures implemented.