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The Firth is home to around 900 harbour seals, and up to 1300 grey seals visit in the summer. Sandbanks from Helmsdale to Findhorn are used by harbour seals to haul out and rest, with Loch Fleet, the Dornoch Firth and from Ardersier to Culbin all good places for shore-based viewing.

Over the last 10-20 years, harbour seal populations in many parts of the east coast of Scotland have shown declines, including in the Moray Firth. The reasons for this are not yet clearly understood and are the focus of research work by the Scottish Marine Mammal Research Unit.

Find out more: 

SNH, Scottish Seals booklet

Aberdeen University Lighthouse Field Station

Moray Firth Seal Management Plan

Harbour seals decline project

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