Greater Thames Seal Working Group

Map of the Greater Thames Estuary


The Greater Thames Estuary is home to a population of harbour seals, also known as ‘common seals’, and grey seals, which utilise the marine and coastal environment.  In light of the significant amount of economic activity in the region (fishing, energy production, shipping, tourism, and recreation), but also recognising the conservation status of seals, it was agreed to establish a working group comprised of stakeholder representatives from all sectors. The Greater Thames Seal Working Group (GTSWG) aims to better understand and manage the interactions between the seal populations and human activities in the Greater Thames Estuary.

Purpose of the GTSWG:

  • Facilitate dialogue and information sharing on all matters concerning seals in the Thames, with a focus on the status of harbour and grey seal populations; interaction with industry; future plans for development; and conservation designations.

  • Identify priorities for research and monitoring, to better understand the Thames seal populations and interactions between seals and human activities.

  • Ensure that the seal populations are appropriately considered when drafting and implementing Government legislation.

  • Work with DEFRA to look at reviewing current policy and legislation with regard to seals. 

 Greater Thames Seal Action Plan (GTSAP):

The Greater Thames Seal Action Plan (GTSAP) was drawn together after the inaugural meeting of the GTSWG in November 2013. It outlines the main outputs GTSWG want to achieve between 2014 and 2019, dependent on funds being secured. File Greater Thames Seal Action Plan (188.96 KB)

How to join the GTSWG:

Membership of the working group is open to all interested stakeholders with the majority agreement of the founding members. Please email for more information