Acoustic devices are being trialled off the Yorkshire Coast

Acoustic devices are being trialled on Yorkshire fishing boats to scare off hungry seals. The scarers, which replicate the noise of hunting sea eagles, emit a high-frequency sound uncomfortable for seals up to 100m away from the vessel.

The equipment has been bought by the North Eastern Sea Fisheries Committee to try to stop seals diving into fishermen’s nets and spoiling their catches. Seals are particularly problematic for salmon fishermen, and in some cases follow them out to sea. The creatures can be shot if caught damaging fishing gear, but the government has repeatedly ruled out culls, which were banned in 1978 after a public outcry.

Chief fisheries officer David McCandless told the Yorkshire Post he’s had excellent feedback from the trials. ‘We’ve heard stories of seals leaping out of the water, where they are close to the equipment,’ he said. ‘I think it is the first time that a fisheries management body has tried to look at a problem objectively and quantify what’s going on.’