Seal Deterrent Project Team | Civil Service Awards 2021 | Prestigious cross-government programme to recognise the wealth of inspirational individuals

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Seal Deterrent Project Team

Scottish Government

Fishing is incredibly important to the Scottish rural economy, but when seals interfere with mackerel fishing lines they cause damage and disruption. The shared interest was finding a solution to deter seals from interfering with this local fishery, so new internal and external networks were created, co-ordinating initial discussions between the local fishers and scientists from University of St Andrews (who specialised in acoustic deterrent devices). Using an innovative method, Targeted Acoustic Startle Technology (TAST), and conducting a scientific trial with local fishing vessels, seal detections decreased by 97% when TAST was used, and this strong deterrence effect could have benefits for other fisheries and aquaculture. Fishing was more efficient and less interrupted using TAST and local fishers were pleased with the results.