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Environmentalists declare war on seal hunters

2017-06-07

Environmentalists are concerned with yet another threat posing to the grey seal inhabiting the Baltic Sea and included in the Lithuanian Red Book: this year as many as 26 dead bodies of these mammals have been washed ashore on the coast of this country. According to the data by the Klaipėda Regional Environmental Protection Department (RAAD) of the Ministry of Environment, all the bodies of grey seal had violent trauma wounds, this is why large forces have been assigned to search for murderers of these protected species.

“We have declared war on seal hunters,” says Director of the Klaipėda RAAD Mr. Andrius Kairys. “We are assisted by officers of the Police and the State Border Guard Service, their CCTV cameras installed in the coast area. For the last two months in the stretch between Karklė and Šventoji alone the record number of 20 dead seals has been found. Most of them, we believe, fell from bullets, although it is difficult to confirm it due to the bodies’ decaying in water.”

Officials of the Klaipėda RAAD together with specialists of the Environmental Protection Agency started watching the coast line some time ago. According to Andrius Kairys, they have been looking into a version that these endangered mammals in Lithuania can be hunted by fishermen fishing in the coastal area; this is why the information has been forwarded to officials of the Fisheries Service overlooking commercial fishing in the Baltic Sea.

Environmentalists have already checked several times owners of commercial fishing companies conducting fishing in the mentioned area whether they have any illegally owned hunting firearms; however none has been found including the latest search conducted on last Sunday. Administrative liability for an illegally hunted seal imposes a fine from EUR 800 to EUR 1.800. In addition, one would have to compensate damage to nature in the amount of EUR 1.285.

Three years ago, when a similar situation occurred, it was suggested that bodies of the grey seal were brought to the Lithuanian shores by currents of the Baltic Sea from Sweden, where professional hunting of seals is legal. However this version, just like suspecting Latvian fishermen in the wrongdoing voiced by the local fishermen were later rejected.

Communication Department
2017-06-07

Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas
Minister of Environment of Lithuania Kęstutis Navickas