§ 46. Mr. Buchanan-Smith
To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what is the latest evidence available to him of the trend in the population of seals around the coast of Scotland; and if he will make a statement.
§ Mr. Rifkind
The most recent advice obtained from the National Environment Research Council on grey seals estimated the population around the coast of Scotland to be approximately 87,000 in 1986 and 92,500 in 1987. Comparable figures for common seals are not available. The most recent surveys by the council estimated the minimum size of this population to be approximately 18,000 in 1986. Further surveys are planned for 1989 and 1990.