Over the last three weeks, there have been a number of reports of at least one seal in the River Severn and the lower reaches of the River Teme. It has been seen eating salmon, and spawning barbel and chub in a number of different locations many miles apart and several anglers have contacted the Angling Trust with their concerns about the presence of this marine mammal in these rivers, and its potential impact on fish stocks if it is allowed to remain in the river system for an extended period of time. Anglers are particularly concerned that the Teme is a SSSI and the seal could do long term damage to the balance of nature in an area acknowledged by Natural England to “support plants and animals that find it more difficult to survive in the wider countryside”.
Natural England and the Environment Agency have previously made it clear to the Angling Trust that they were unwilling to do anything to assist angling interests when a seal was eating fish and birds at Bewdley, despite the Environment Agency’s statutory duty to ‘maintain, improve and develop fisheries’ and the fact that they have helped with the removal of seals in the past from rivers in Wales.
Therefore the Angling Trust immediately contacted the British Divers Marine Life Rescue (BDMLR) as soon as we were made aware of the seal to ask for their assistance in capturing the animal and returning it to its natural habitat in the sea. The BDMLR remains willing to help with such a capture in principle, but have warned that there are significant practical difficulties with capturing a seal in a river and that the best chance of doing so would be […]