Keith the seal could be SHOT DEAD under legal loophole

January 3, 2014 | by | 9 Comments

A hungry grey seal which became a national celebrity after swimming 80 miles inland up a river could be killed after a legal loophole means landowners or commercial fisherman with the correct weapon are free to SHOOT it dead.

Fishermen claim fish stocks and reported catches of salmon, trout and shad have plummeted since Keith took up residence in the River Severn in 2012.

Canoeists nicknamed her Keith after Royalist commander Colonel George Keith who fought in the Battle of Worcester in 1651 in the Civil War close to where she was first spotted.

Keith the seal pictured in the last year enjoying life of the river Severn

Keith the seal pictured in the last year enjoying life of the river Severn

Since arriving the 4ft-long animal has amassed a huge following, including thousands of fans across the world who regularly update her TWO Facebook pages and Twitter account.

But despite many loving her, anglers have been complaining she is eating river’s fish stocks and putting their livelihoods at risk.

Attempts to remove her from the river were made in November after a licence was issued to the Angling Trust which would allow them to capture her humanely and take her back to the sea.

But the £5,000 mammal hunt to capture Keith failed and the licence expired on New Year’s Eve marking the start of “open season” under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970.

It means Keith’s life is on the line because no licence is needed to capture or even kill a seal between January and August 31.

However, it is only commercial fisherman or landowners armed the correct weapon who can kill the seal.

Campaigners have set up an online petition to save Keith which already has nearly 900 signatures.

The petition was set up on December 29 and people have signed the document from as far as Germany, France and the USA.

Lisa Ventura, who helped set up the petition, said: “The petition is to be sent to the Angling Trust, Natural England, and to send a message to other anglers who want her moved to leave her be where she is in the Severn.

“That’s what I’m hoping to achieve with it – for her to live in peace in the Severn where she has been for more than a year and where she seems happy.

“I can’t see how one seal can have that much impact on a whole massive river full of fish.

“I believe she should be left alone – she has been in the Severn for more than a year now so she must like it in there and if she wants to return to the sea where she came from, she will do so when she is good and ready.”

Category: News

Comments (9)

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  1. The Seals of Nam says:

    One seal? Responsible for an entire river worth of fish stocks? RUBBISH!! The police should investigate what those fishermen are smoking because it sure as hell ain’t salmon.

  2. Anonymous says:

    What’s the link to the petition???

  3. Paul says:

    I wish these online ‘Journals’ would take a moment to check their facts before spewing rubbish all over the internet. Firstly, there are NO fishermen along the entire length of the Severn, making a living from catching fish from it.
    Secondly, the seal is a MARINE mammal in other words, it’s natural habitat is the SEA not 80 miles from it in a freshwater river.
    Thirdly, I have seen and photographed this seal at Diglis weir in Worcester, eating LOTS of fish, BIG fish. It has also been photographed eating Ducks. It was filmed, swimming very slowly towards a dog which was barking at it from a sandy cattle drink on the bank. If the seal had been scared by the dog, it would have simply swam away. Instead it swam towards it, I believe, with every intention of attacking it with the view of eating it.
    The river Severn is NOT full of fish. It is a very finely balanced natural waterway, and this seal is causing an imbalance.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Type in Keith the seal into FB for the page and petition x

  5. Anonymous says:

    Anglers pay money to the Environment agency so they can fish the rivers and this money goes into the looking after and stocking the rivers of fish. The seals belongs in the sea at the end of the day in its natural habitat.

    • Anonymous says:

      We all pay money to the EA through our taxes. Just because an angler pays some money it doesn’t give them more right to the seal, which eats to survive. If the fish stocks really were decimated then the seal wouldn’t stay in the river now would it?!

  6. Seal Protection Action Group says:

    Sadly narrow minds and interests threaten a beautiful creature that brings joy and interest in the narural world to huge numbers of people. The Conservation of Seals Act is simply a licence to kill and has been repealed in Scotland following our campaign to end seal shooting by the salmon industry, including sports angling interests. ‘Keith’ is no threat to fish stocks and it is long overdue that the CSA is scrapped here in England as it has been in Scotland. Help our campaign at

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