Under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has a duty to provide scientific advice to government on matters related to the management of seal populations. NERC has appointed the Special Committee on Seals (SCOS) to formulate this advice.
Formal advice is given annually based on the latest scientific information provided to SCOS by the Sea Mammal Research Unit. SMRU also provides to government scientific review of applications for licences to shoot seals, and information and advice in response to parliamentary questions and correspondence.
The report provides scientific advice on matters related to the management of seal populations. It begins with some general information on British seals, gives information on their current status, and addresses specific questions raised by regulators and stakeholders.