Riot guns used to deter seals from Australian salmon farms

SYDNEY, Oct. 12 (Xinhua) -- Seals in Australia's Southern-most State of Tasmania, were being shot with riot guns to deter them from approaching salmon farms, local media reported on Friday.

According to reports, in 2016 more than 3,770 beanbag bullets and 39,024 underwater explosives were used to deter the seals, which regulatory body, the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE) say pose a danger to workers and impact on production.

"While the industry continues to invest in stronger cages to reduce interactions with seals, there are a number of authorized techniques that are available to the industry that can be used in line with specified conditions," a DPIPWE spokesperson told Xinhua.

"Authorised options available to the industry include use of non-lethal deterrents such as bean bags and crackers."

Although the department say that, "animal welfare is an important part of conditions in place for any of the authorized techniques," the practice has come under fire from various animal rights groups.

"From an animal welfare perspective beanbags are high risk, they are inappropriate and likely to injure the animal," former chairman of Tasmania's Animal Welfare Advisory Committee Rick Campbell told the national broadcaster.

"It is certainly a concern, especially if the animals are too , these are fast-moving animals and it is most likely the head that is above water -- the risk of significant injuries is high."

DPIPWE said they are working with researchers from the University of Tasmania to further study fur seal behavior which they hope will better allow them to manage the situation.

"This will further inform future management strategies and continue to ensure best practice techniques are used to manage interactions," the spokesperson said.

[ Editor: WPY ]


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