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Under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970, it is an offence to take or kill common and grey seals out of season (when they have pups) or to use certain methods to kill or take, unless permitted to do so by a licence issued under the Act. In the last ten years there have been no licenses issued to shoot seals to protect aquaculture or fisheries interests in England.
Fishers have the legal defence to take unlicensed emergency measures in relation to individual seals to prevent damage to their fishing equipment or fish contained within it. There are no reporting requirements under this provision.