Sea Shepherd UK’s Seal Defence Campaign over the two years utilised 71 volunteers from 12 countries utilising three of Sea Shepherd UK’s boats ‘Spitfire’, ‘Mermaid of Makaha’ and ‘Joker’ together with a privately owned fast boat ‘Togs’, while land patrols included our first use of a dedicated 4x4 vehicle ‘Koyah’ and an amphibious drone named ‘Kuiper’ which had both been kindly donated by Sea Shepherd UK supporters. The campaign generated significant media attention and has documented several potential illegal shootings of protected grey seals as well multiple cases of allegedly illegal killing of protected UK seabird species by UK fishermen at multiple locations.
The Seal Defence Campaign also reduced the numbers of seals shot (by fishermen and associated persons monitored) decrease from around 120 (in 2013) to less than 10 (in 2015) and to less than 30 (in 2016) with no discernible affect to legal fishing activities. The campaign also reported multiple cases of illegal fishing outside of permitted hours to River Bailiffs which resulted in illegally set nets being cut from the water by River Bailiffs.
Accounting for local reports and estimates of illegal shootings of seals - the numbers of seals saved during the campaign is likely in excess of 200 animals as well as resulting in many protected seabirds being freed from coastal fixed engine nets which otherwise may have been left to drown or be killed by salmon netsmen.