25 May 2020
Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Orkney Greylag Goose Management group today announced they are working together to ensure greylag goose management on Orkney continues once COVID-19 restrictions are eased.
Unfortunately, the Coronavirus outbreak prevented some of the agreed spring goose control measures from being carried out – including egg oiling work and trial corralling of geese. It is hoped to carry out these measures next year.
If changes to the current COVID-19 restrictions allow over this summer, rifles to control geese will be trialled in July, as well as a survey of moulting sites to inform the goose corralling trial.
Graham Neville, SNH Area Manager for Northern Isles and North Highland said:
“We know this delay is frustrating, and are very aware of the continued damage that farmers are experiencing from greylag geese in Orkney. We remain committed to supporting the work of the management group to co-ordinate a range of goose management measures as soon as feasibly possible.”
Alan Corrigall, Orkney NFU Scotland Chairman said:
“We are disappointed that the momentum which had been gathering to find new ways to control the resident geese population has come to a halt. However, hopefully marksmen shooting later this summer can still go ahead as planned, and the other agreed control measures can be trialled next year.”
Land managers can still control greylag geese under the General Licence to prevent agricultural damage, provided they can comply with the Government’s COVID-19 restriction rules. The General Licence was amended this year so individual licences to carry out shooting or egg oiling during closed season are no longer required.
Greylag goose meat sales have also been consented under a General Licence for Orkney. As a result, land managers on Orkney can now, under food hygiene legislation, sell the greylag goose carcasses they generate, if they are satisfied they comply with the COVID-19 suppression rules. Land managers must ensure work carried out follows the General Licence rules.