Not, of course, for meat or the pleasure of a kill, but just for recordings of the sounds they make to each other underwater.
A few days ago, we tagged along with the team taking the Sealladh around the eastern coast of Berneray. The principal passenger was a researcher from Aberdeen University, attempting to take recordings of seal noises by use of some hi-tec equipment:
It wasn't a very successful day. Despite the hot weather - ideal for basking - the seals were unusually low in number. Towards the end of the session, we had better luck with the odd seal or two, but not in the numbers that's usual for around our way. Here's one of the subjects that the researcher (attempted to) record:
Other people on the boat had more fun observing tourists on the shoreline, looking at the various properties currently for sale, and soon to be for sale, on Berneray, and taking the odd picture or two:
If you want to see seals, usually in large numbers, off Berneray there's two usually foolproof ways of doing this:
1. Stay at the appropriately-named Seal View B&B on Berneray; the room overlooks the sea and rocks on which they spend much of their time lolling around.
2. Go out from Berneray fishing harbour with Berneray Boat Club, who usually know when and where them seals lurk...