Concerns over plans for seal haul out site

Newburgh beach is currently enjoyed by many people for varying activities including dog walking and watching the seals.
Newburgh beach is currently enjoyed by many people for varying activities including dog walking and watching the seals.

Local groups have raised 
their concerns over the proposed plans for a seal haul-out site at the Ythan Estuary
 in Newburgh.

The plans have been created by Marine Scotland and their proposed designated area for the seals would include the whole of the south bank, part of Newburgh Golf Course and part of the sand dunes 
and beach.

This plan is really using a sledgehammer to crack a nut

Ron Coutts Newburgh Angling Club

Both the River Ythan Trust and the Newburgh Angling Club have expressed their concerns regarding the loss of amenities to users of the popular area including dog walkers, horse riders, golfers, anglers and those in boats.

The groups are also concerned about the potential and unknown impacts the enlarged seal haul out area would have on other species on land and in the River Ythan.

Secretary of the River Ythan Trust, Alec Paterson, said: “We have concerns about the potential impact of large numbers of seals being in that area and how they may impact on salmon and sea trout in that area.

“We would actually like to see a highly specific study on sea trout and in particular how they may be affected 
by seals.”

Secretary of the Newburgh Angling Club, Ron Coutts, said: “It’s a great opportunity for children to see seals up close.

“This plan is really using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.”

Currently the seals use the north bank which forms part of the Forvie National Nature Reserve and has already been highlighted as an area for the public to leave for the seals and birds.

Marine Scotland say due to the fact the whole site is easily accessible by land it may be vulnerable to disturbance due to the increased number of seals attracting more visitors to the beach.