Reports of jet skiers targeting seals in north-east Fife

Jet skiers have been seen deliberately driving at seals on the Abertay Sands, Tentsmuir in north-east Fife.
Jet skiers have been seen deliberately driving at seals on the Abertay Sands, Tentsmuir in north-east Fife.

Jet skiers have been seen deliberately driving at seals on the Abertay Sands in Tentsmuir.

This is according to recent reports to the police and Scottish Natural Heritage, who manage the area as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Tentsmuir National Nature Reserve is an important place for wildlife, and is one of the few places on the east coast of Scotland where you can see both grey and common seals.

Common seals produce their pups from late May to July, while grey seals produce their pups from September to December.

People encroaching on areas where seals haul up when they are pregnant or pupping is threatening for the seals.

The Scottish marine wildlife watching code asks anyone coming near animals while on the water to reduce their speed, make sure their movements are steady and predictable, and not to approach the creatures directly.

Tom Cunningham, SNH’s Tenstmuir national nature reserve manager, said: “These jet skiers cause massive disturbance to the seals and also upset the visitors who witness these incidents.

“We’d ask jet skiers to behave within the wildlife watching code and be aware that they could be causing seals distress and endangering them at this sensitive time of year.”

Constable Lindsay Kerr, Fife police division’s Wildlife & Environmental Crime Coordinator, said: “I have had complaints about jet skiers deliberately disturbing seals at Abertay Point, Tenstmuir.

“I want to make it clear that anyone targeting seals is committing a crime and will be prosecuted.

“I work closely with the SNH and agree with Tom Cunningham’s comments. The seal population along with all the other wildlife in the protected SSSI is incredibly important.

“I would recommend that anyone involved in jet skiing around Tentsmuir is careful and familiarises themselves with all SSSI’s and the wildlife watching code.”

Constable Kerr added: “I want to encourage the public to enjoy the beautiful coastline around Fife but ask everyone to act responsibly and be aware of the possible impact of their activities in relation to wildlife and the environment.”