The grey seal is Britain's largest native seal species, being bigger (and slightly confusingly more numerous) than the common or harbour seal. Its thick, insulating layer of blubber and waterproof fur allow it to survive in cold water temperatures.


Grey Seals and humans

Humans have hunted the grey seal for thousands of years. Its skin was used to make clothing, its blubber (fat) made into oil for lamps and its flesh was eaten.

Later, the grey seal was culled around British shores because fishermen claimed that it did much damage to fish stocks and nets. This culling has now largely stopped and the grey seal is protected by law. Fishermen still blame the grey seal for reducing the populations of salmon and cod in the North Sea, but many scientists say that this has been caused by years of overfishing and the seals do not seriously reduce stocks of fish.

The Grey Seal population in the UK is one of the most intensively monitored large mammal populations in the world.

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