A skene of Greylag geese (Anser anser) flying overhead. ©Lorne Gill/SNH. For information on reproduction rights contact the Scottish Natural Heritage Image Library on Tel. 01738 444177 or www.nature.scot

Managing geese

​Scotland has had a national goose policy since 2000, to help balance agricultural and conservation interests.

​Wild geese have long formed an important part of Scotland’s nature and landscapes. But growing populations can cause significant losses to farmers and crofters.

A number of local goose management schemes and pilots operate across Scotland within the framework of national goose policy. These aim to minimise agricultural losses whilst ensuring that Scotland fulfils its international nature conservation objectives.

Scottish Natural Heritage provides funding and administrative support to the schemes and pilots. Each initiative has been developed by a local goose management group, which is chaired by the Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate.

Goose management schemes

These help land managers to support populations of wintering geese associated with neighbouring Special Protection Areas.

Schemes are located in:

Goose management pilots for resident greylag geese

The pilots used adaptive management to manage populations of resident greylag geese and to reduce their impacts on agriculture. These pilots ran until 31st March 2017.

Pilots were located in:

  • Orkney
  • Tiree
  • Uist
  • Lewis and Harris

SNH reviewed the Pilots' achievements in 2018 and recommended self-help, adaptive approaches, should be used where possible, as the basic means to resolve goose management conflict.

A Challenge Fund is available in 2019 to help Local Goose Management Groups to develop sustainable approaches to managing resident greylag goose populations and their impacts on agriculture.

SNH has licenced the sale of resident greylag goose meat arising from these pilots. The sale of goose meat shot in Orkney is currently licensed until 31 January 2020 under General Licence 15/2019.


Morag Milne
Telephone: 01738 458625
Email: [email protected]

Find out more

Islay Sustainable Goose Management Strategy
Islay Goose Management Project Presentation
Goose Management on Islay - current approach