University of St Andrews
Sea Mammal Research Unit
SMRU > About SMRU > Policy


The Sea Mammal Research Unit (SMRU) is a provider of impartial, independent and innovative science that has high relevance to society. This means that SMRU has a major input to the support of environmental policy in the UK.

Because of the requirement placed on NERC  under the Conservation of Seals Act 1970 and the Marine (Scotland) Act 2010 to provide advice to the UK and Scottish Governments about the management of seal populations, SMRU’s activities have a strong link to policy. This also applies to the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (p66). SMRU’s work extends to supporting policy in fields of marine management beyond seals to cetaceans (whales and dolphins) and into areas of environmental risk. Much of SMRU’s work supports environmental policy within the Scottish Government and Defra. Much of this support is provided through annual reporting by the UK Special Committee on Seals.

SMRU also supports the UK Government through representation on the International Whaling Commission Scientific Committee and through its membership of various UK committees within the context of the UK Marine Monitoring and Assessment Strategy and representation on the Scottish Government’s Sustainable Seas Task Force.  This is to underpin the UK's commitment to the EU Strategy Framework Directive and the attainment of Good Environmental Status of the seas around the UK.

SMRU’s activities address the requirements for information about marine mammals identified in the UK and Scottish Sustainable Development  and Biodiversity Strategies and, most importantly, in the new Strategy for Scotland’s Coast and Inshore Waters. They are also relevant to the Joint UK Response to the Review of Marine Nature Conservation, the EU Marine Strategy and the UK Small Cetacean Bycatch Response Strategy

In addition to these UK- and European-based activities, SMRU is often called upon to advise on policy issues concerning other countries.



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