We are very fortunate to share our waters with grey seals. They are sensitive to disturbance and are protected by law. They haul out to pup on the Pembrokeshire coastline and offshore islands usually from August to the end of November. Although there may be gatherings of large groups at any time of year.
1. Do not land on pupping beaches from 1st August to the end of November and do not disturb mothers nursing pups. Adult females often rest about 10-30m away from the shore and their pup. Avoid coming between them.
2. Avoid creeping up on seals or approaching them bow on. They may perceive you as a predator.
3. Keep your distance and keep at least 50m* away from seals unless they approach you. Seals can be particularly sensitive to disturbance after periods of stormy weather and during the breeding season.
4. Always allow seals an escape route and avoid boxing them in.
5. For the sake of your safety and for the health of the seals themselves do not seek to swim with, touch or feed seals.
6. Noise disrupts. Keep speed below 5 knots on arrival and departure. Keep viewing time to 10 minutes. Move away if you observe disturbance, such as rapid swimming to and fro, sudden panic diving, and re-entry into the water. Moving away can prevent an extended stampede in haul out areas.
*The distance at which seals show signs of agitation varies tremendously, depending on the location, the type of approach, whether the animals are used to being watched and whether or not they have pups with them. Be responsive to the behaviour of the animals.