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Sale of goose meat extended

SNH is working with locals groups to look at options which could ease the goose problem in Orkney and other areas.

Both the sale of goose meat and funding have been extended in Orkney, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) announced today.

To help farmers and crofters whose crops were being eaten by a rapidly rising goose population, pilot studies were run in local communities here in as well as in Tiree, Coll, Uist, Lewis and  Harris. The aim of the pilots was to reduce goose impacts by managing their numbers and by selling goose meat locally.

SNH has said the studies confirmed that resident greylag goose populations can absorb substantial losses without any effect on their conservation status.

The sale of the meat and funding have also been extended for the Western Isles.

Sally Thomas, SNH’s Director of People & Nature, said: “Wild geese are an important part of Scotland’s nature, but their rapid rise in numbers has been challenging for farmers and crofters. We understand it’s still an issue in some areas, with a difficult balance between conservation, farming and hunting.

“Our goal is to give farmers and crofters the tools they need to safeguard their crops, by giving them the control to manage goose numbers sustainably through sport shooting, other control, or selling goose meat for profit.”

The pilots are now being extended until the end of 2019. The 2019 transitional Challenge Fund will help local goose groups develop business models to generate income from the sale of resident greylag goose meat in the long term.

SNH has also said that they and local goose management groups are also exploring other options together, such as more flexible licences when necessary, a review of bag limits in some areas, and egg-oiling.

The pilot studies cost about £350,000 over five years to March 2017 and an additional £70,000 to March 2019. SNH is now offering a Challenge Fund of £25,000 to support sustainable management, as well as an additional £13,000 for counts and productivity estimates.