Efforts to reduce the greylag goose population of Lewis and Harris will continue later this month with the launch of the final year of spring shooting.
The local goose management group will be holding two drop-in sessions for local residents who wish to discuss greylag management in the coming weeks.
Marksmen will shoot geese between 15th February and 15th April 2017, on land where permission from the landowner and crofters has been granted
The management pilot, which is now in its third year, has been developed by the local goose management group with support from Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and the Scottish Government’s Rural Inspections and Payments Department (RPID).
Sustainable land management is a priority project in Scotland’s 2020 Challenge for Biodiversity and controlling local populations of geese aims to balance agricultural and conservation interests.
Roddy MacMinn of SNH said: “The aim of this pilot project is to minimise the agricultural damage experienced by crofters and farmers, by reducing greylag goose numbers to an agreed level.
“We hope to demonstrate an approach which local communities might adopt or adapt themselves once the population has been reduced to a more manageable level.”
A team of experienced, volunteer shooters will operate under licence and follow established best practice methods.
The target is for an additional 1100 geese to be shot this spring to try to reduce the population significantly by April 2017.
This will be the final period of shooting under the current management pilot project.
The progress on Lewis and Harris will be reviewed alongside results from the other pilot areas, once this year’s results and feedback from the participating communities is available.
The local goose management group is actively exploring options to ensure the long-term sustainable management of greylag geese in Lewis and Harris once the pilot has finished. There are currently no plans for continued funding from SNH or Scottish Government beyond the end of the pilot.
Two drop-in sessions will be held between 4pm and 8pm: at Stornoway Bridge Centre on Monday 6th February; and at Barvas & Brue Community Centre on Wednesday 8th February. The events will provide an opportunity for anyone with an interest to contribute their views and find out more.
For further information contact SNH’s Stornoway office on 01851 705258.