There are two species of seals in Irish waters - the Harbour or Common Seal and the more numerous Grey Seal.
While seals are protected under the EU Habitats Directive and the Wildlife Acts, permits may be obtained under section 42 of the Wildlife Acts to control seals where significant damage is being caused. Permits may be issued in response to specific applications and each application is considered on its merits. This redress is available, for example, to individual fishermen to control damage to fisheries by seals at particular locations.
In the period 2010 to the end of 2018 my Department issued 28 Section 42 permits to control seals. Some 21 permits allowed for the killing of seals which were restricted, in the main, to one or two seals per permit while 5 permits allowed for scaring only and 2 permits permitted both scaring and killing. Twenty of these permits related to commercial fisheries.