The South Western Regional Fisheries Board has called on the Department of the Environment to set target numbers for seal and cormorant populations amid concern that the two species, which are both protected, are threatening two other protected species, eel and salmon
Aidan Barry, the board’s chief executive, said that seal and cormorant numbers are “perceived to have increased”, and stressed that hard data is now needed. Studies by the National Parks & Wildlife Service appear to back up the claim that grey and common seal numbers have indeed grown. Fisherman apparently told the SWRFB that cormorants pose as great a threat to eel population numbers as eel fishing, which is now banned.
The Irish Times has the full story. Seal population numbers are a source of much debate, with fisherman frequently claiming that large populations impact on fish stocks and their livelihoods. Hard data on both seal and cormorant populations is now urgently needed, as is data on the optimum population numbers needed to ensure their prey species are not threatened.