The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) undertakes routine surveys of harbour and grey seals around Scotland and part of England. The surveys provide the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) with information required to fulfil its statutory obligation under the Conservation of Seals Act, 1970, to provide the Scottish Government and the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) with scientific advice related to the management of seal populations. SMRU carries out surveys of harbour seals (usually during their annual moult in August) from a helicopter using a thermal imaging camera. The imager is sensitive to infrared radiation in the 8-14 μm wavebands, encompassing the electromagnetic emission range of mammals. The thermal imaging camera can rapidly detect seals hauled out of the water and is ideal for locating seals on rocky shores where they can be very difficult to see, enabling long sections of coastline to be surveyed in a relatively short time. The aims of these surveys were to determine the overall numbers of harbour seals and pups and the locations of their haul-out sites between Carlingford Lough and Belfast Lough, including Strangford Lough. The surveys provide additional baseline information on the number and distribution of harbour and grey seals both inside and outside Strangford Lough, complementing the monthly boat surveys carried out inside Strangford Lough by the Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) and National Trust (NT) staff. This series contains the 2009 and 2010 survey reports.
2010 Survey Report
2009 Survey Report