Grey Seal Population Causing Headaches for Fishing Industry ({{commentsTotal}})

Estonian fishermen are complaining that grey seals, which are under wildlife protection on the Baltic Sea, are causing trouble for the nation's fishing industry, costing it a million euros annually.

The mammal was in danger of extinction in the 1970s, when numbers dropped to a few thousand, but current estimates put their number at 30,000 to 50,000, ETV reported on Sunday.

Besides the million euros in damage they cause to fishing traps, seals survive on a diet of fish, taking a bite out of the Baltic Sea's dwindling fish stock.

Finnish and Swedish fishermen have resorted to expensive seal-proof fishing equipment which, due to its price, is out of reach for Estonian fishermen.

Markus Vetemaa, of the Estonian Marine Institute, said that seal hunting should be permitted, as research carried out in Finland and Sweden has found that controlled hunting would keep the seal population in check.