Management of Scotland’s goose population is a national problem which needs to be urgently addressed, according to the Rural Affairs, Climate Change and Environment Committee.
In a letter to the Scottish Government, MSPs call for the current approach and methods for controlling geese to be reviewed. This is to ensure that goose populations and their impact on agriculture and the environment are effectively managed.
Although some funding might be available through the Scotland Rural Development Programme (SRDP) the Committee believes that this may not be the correct vehicle to deliver additional support.
The Committee therefore recommends that the Scottish Government reconsider its approach to the funding of goose management programmes and allocate additional resources to crop protection and Adaptive Management Plans, ensuring that these programmes follow best practice in terms of stakeholder involvement, management, design, implementation and monitoring.
Convener of the Committee, Rob Gibson MSP said:
“It has become clear from our evidence that the current level of wild geese in Scotland is causing significant difficulties for crofters and farmers in certain areas. The current approach isn’t working and funding for the management of geese numbers needs to be reviewed as a matter of urgency.
“The Committee is aware that the problems faced by crofters and farmers differ from area to area and while the issue of damage caused by goose populations is a national problem there is no one size fits all solution and local solutions using people with local knowledge is required.”
The Committee was considering this issue after a petition on the control of geese numbers from the Scottish Crofting Federation.
Public Petition PE01490 on the control of wild goose numbers was referred to the Committee on 29 October 2013. The petition called on the Scottish Government to address the problems of wild geese in crofting areas as a matter of priority; reassess its decision to stop funding existing goose management programmes, and assign additional resources to Crop Protection and Adaptive Management Programmes to ensure this threat to the future of crofting is averted.