British Divers Marine Life Rescue
British Divers Marine Life Rescue (photo: Steve Marsh)
British Divers Marine Rescue


2005-07-29 14:13:39

Seal freed from netting - Shetland

A young grey seal is recovering from serious wounds after it was found with monofilament net wrapped around its neck on Mousa this week.

RSPB warden Helen Moncrieff was accompanying a group of about 60 tourists onto the island when she spotted the injured seal on the beach.

"We went up to it and it had this gill net, monofilament net, around its neck and that was attached to a length of thick rope," Ms Moncrieff said. "It was in a right mess. The netting had dug right into its neck.

"There were all these folk coming off Tom Jamieson's boat and they started to crowd around so we had to get them to keep back."

Ms Moncrieff, who attended a marine mammal medic course in Shetland last year, managed to free the net with the help of others and then carried it on a Second World War stretcher to the boat.

She said she was horrified at the damage done to the creature by the discarded piece of netting. "We were all very angry about it. Every single fisherman and salmon farmer is aware that you don't just dump stuff into the sea. Ignorance is not an excuse any more," she said.

"It may not have been a local boat, but people form their own opinions. It’s certainly not a good advertisement for the local fishing industry for 60 tourists to see something like this."

Karen Hall, from Scottish Natural Heritage, arranged for the seal to be taken to Hillswick Wildlife Sanctuary where it is now recovering.

Jan Bevington, who runs the sanctuary, said the seal is about nine months old and the wound was about one inch deep. "It's quite badly infected, but the main thing is that the net is now off and the wound is starting to heal," she said.

A decision as to when to release the seal will be taken in consultation with local SSPCA officer Ron Patterson who has already visited the seal at the sanctuary.

Pete Bevington
Shetland News Agency

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