A FISHING business has backed down on plans to kill seals after a row broke out with wildlife campaigners.

Usan Salmon Fisheries of Montrose applied for a culling licence to shoot the marine mammals at a popular nature reserve.

The firm recently bought fishing rights for the Ythan River, near Ellon, in Aberdeenshire, and wanted to keep seals away from their nets. But environmentalists called for the application to be rejected to protect wildlife at the nature reserve.

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Campaign group Stop the Ythan Cull set up a petition through Facebook and the group grew to over 500 members in its first evening .

The fishing firm decided to withdraw its application after "careful consideration" yesterday, insisting it will use other ways to deter seals.