Peter 8-10 of them were fishing off whitby a few days ago and with this super **** weather we are having they have disapeared but probably to land somewhere sounds like you dont get bothered with seals with your netts a very lucky man they torture the netters here ask any netter what he thinks about seals i wont print what the anser would be get yourself back up here a fire a few fleets overboard you,ll get back more heads than full fish and thats if they leave you anything plenty of fish knotts.
Peter look closely what other people have seen.
I remember that that the seals were always a pain during the spring fishing, during the autumn they are probably feeding on the herring, I have two or three seals patrolling along my nets every day at the moment with a preference for bass along with a few soles , they have even learnt to follow the trawlers and either chew the heads off or pull any soles that are sticking out of the cod end.
While I agree they are a pain and a threat to my wallet I don't think they are a threat to the fish stocks.
I am sure that I read probably in the fishing news an article on the French whiting fishery, they claimed it to be a very clean fishery with little by catch, with the cod recovery plan and cod avoidance schemes I'm sure they would not be allowed otherwise.
The french fleet used to congragate off here at Harwich mainly offshore 30 or 40 miles but for the last 6 or 7 years they seem to favour the ground south south east of Whitby.
One time a freind was fishing nets off shore when several of these boats turned up and started fishing all around and over his nets and as usual with the French skippers they were reluctant to comunicate so he was resigned to looseing his nets but on hauling he found no damage, we can only asume that the trawl nets were being towed off bottom catching the whiting as they come up in the water at dusk.
I think the AIS system is creating several arm chair would be fishery officers, good system though I've had it fitted and find invaluable when steaming or working in busy shipping lanes like we have here , turn it off while fishing though.
I fish to live and live to fish.