The issue of seagull attacks was discussed in the last Ramsey Town Commissioners meeting.

The attacks are reported to be particularly bad in the picnic area near the Splash Park at Mooragh Park.

While commissioners Leonard Singer and Adam Beighton suggested reducing the seagull population, Steve Kelly, Wilf Young and Lamara Caine were vocal in their opposition.

Mr Beighton said: ‘I would like to remind everyone that the seagulls particularly in Mooragh Park have injured a number of businesses and young children and that is not acceptable.

‘I appreciate we might not be able to do that much across the town as a whole because that would just be prohibitively expensive, but we should also look at a means of reducing them as a population of the seagulls and certainly stopping the attacks on people around the area.’

Both Wilf Young and Lamara Caine said that it was not possible to reduce seagull populations as they are a protected species in the island.

Seagulls are a protected species under the 1990 Wildlife Act, yet at the same time, it is illegal to feed them. This differs depending on the by-laws of the area.

Ms Caine said: ‘It’s utterly deplorable that anyone would consider trying to reduce the population of seagulls around the town when they are a protected species on this island.

‘It is very unfortunate that people and mainly children have been injured by them but choices can be made to prevent those injuries from happening.

‘You can eat undercover, you can make sure that you are not advertising the food that you are eating when there are birds that will take that food from you. There are things that can be done to prevent injuries, and certainly trying to rid our town of a protected species is utterly ridiculous.’

Mr Singer responded: ‘That is exactly what this proposal is, to find out what we can do I have seen in the park, a two-year-old child with a sandwich and the seagull came down and bit the child.

‘When you say “we shouldn’t be killing seagulls because they are protected” I seem to think that perhaps we shouldn’t have so much protection for them because they are injuring people in public places, and therefore discourage people from going to those spaces.’

Steve Kelly said the discussion was a waste of time as Ramsey was a fishing town, so naturally attracts seagulls.

Although the debate did not reach a binding conclusion, Barbara Wallace, the Ramsey Town Commissioners technical services manager said: ‘We have followed the Department for Environment, Food and Agriculture’s recommendation and obviously it is the expert in dealing with seagulls and everything else and will come back to us with options.

‘Once DEFA has given us the options and pricing, we will be able to include it in the budget process.’