The Moy Estuary, with Bartra Island in the background, where seals are a 'big problem', it has been claimed.

Call for a seal cull in Killala Bay

A call has been issued to carry out a cull of seals in Killala Bay.

Seals are becoming a 'major problem' in the area, according to the cathaoirleach of Ballina Municipal District, Councillor Michael Loftus.

He claimed that there are up to 150 seals in the vicinity of Bartra Island and they are 'killing all that is good about the River Moy as far as salmon is concerned'.

Speaking at a meeting of Ballina Municipal District this week, Councillor Loftus added: “Seals will kill salmon and sea trout, sometimes for fun, other times to eat. I'm calling for a cull down at Bartra Island.”

A keen diver, he said you would never see a seal when he started diving 40 years ago.

Councillor Jarlath Munnelly, a native of Killala, backed the call for a cull, and proposed that, as a group, they should write to the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine saying it was a resolution of Ballina-based councillors.

He explained that, some years back, the government 'exterminated' drift net fishermen, who were going about their business in a sustainable way. As councillors, what they were looking for now was a balancing of the eco system, not the elimation of seals totally.

Councillors John O'Hara and Annie May Reape also supported the call for a cull, but Councillor Seamus Weir warned: “We will have environmentalists having a go at us.”