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The Hunt Saboteurs Association and Sea Shepherd UK joined forces last month to disrupt the annual seal cull off the Scottish coast, with spectacular results. They gave the fishing companies enough trouble through their subterfuge, midnight missions and local support that the cull was called off altogether.

Last year activists were thwarted in their plans to sab the cull, which takes place during the wild salmon fishing season when salmon head offshore en masse to spawn. Every year about 4000 common and grey seals are killed by the salmon industry, under license from the Scottish government, because they've got the same idea as the salmon fishers.

This April the mission was conducted with aplomb. Two companies are most responsible for the seal killing, one of which is the Scottish Wild Salmon Company (SWSC), also known as USAN. Two of SWSC's locations became the primary targets for the HSA/SSUK mission.

On Friday 11th April the sabs got the call they had been waiting for from contacts in Scotland: SWSC had their nets in the water at Gardenstown, north of Aberdeen. No-one had sabbed the seal cull before, but the general principle of getting between the shooters and their target seemed to apply, so two sabs equipped with wetsuits and snorkelling gear arrived in Gardenstown on Monday morning. In the face of local opposition SWSC had moved their netting operation from immediately in front of the village to concealed locations. The sabs decided to work undercover on intelligence gathering.

With fresh information from the locals, the sabs set about finding all of SWSC’s nets, and two days were spent surveying a vast stretch of coastline, much of it perilous cliffs and endless sand dunes. They managed to locate, map and geo-tag all of SWSC’s nets. The Sea Shepherd group had now arrived and decided to call in an inflatable boat. Further well-concealed nets were discovered the next day.

The Sea Shepherd boat launched in the harbour at Gardenstown on the Wednesday, much to the irritation of the SWSC seal killers. On Thursday a massive storm hit, derailing the fishing plans. The next day the Shepherd crew made their move and prevented the killing of seals at the hidden nets, prompting the SWSC to threaten to ‘bring in a crew’ to deal with them.

Fishing is not permitted at the weekend. The SWSC already faces charges from flouting the rules last year and had activists watching their every move, so made a wide decision to bring their nets in on Friday evening. This was clearly too much for them and on Monday three of them, one of them armed with a rifle, attacked a lone Sea Shepherd photographer at the port.

One phone call later and sabs were swinging back into action. In an amazing response ten sabs from Sheffield, West Yorkshire, Manchester and South London Wildlife Group made the long journey north, arriving in Gardenstown at 3am Tuesday. Strangely enough, the SWSC thugs didn’t want to be quite so aggressive when there were sabs around, and by Tuesday evening SWSC had announced that it was stopping the seal cull at Gardenstown altogether! A week of tense stand-off followed, with sabs and SSUK watching SWSC’s every move to make sure they kept their word. This was clearly more than they could handle, and on Wednesday 30th May SWSC removed all of its nets from the Gardenstown area and withdrew from the town.

Our sab on the ground told us, “We're planning the next stage of the operation. We won’t stop until every seal, salmon and other hunted animal is safe!”.



There is 1 comment on this story...
Added By: Anonymous - 4th May 2014 @ 5:38 PM
Our covert team just seen Usan working in Montrose today, Sunday, they have no respect for the law!
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