Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has launched a trial period to extend the licence allowing the sale of greylag goose meat across Scotland.
The sale of goose meat is traditionally restricted under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, however for several years it has been sold under licence on Orkney to sustainably control the growing resident greylag geese population in order to safeguard agricultural crops.
Extending the licence to Scotland-wide has been approved by the European Commission and will allow sellers to develop the market and boost profits.
The trial period will run from 1 August 2019 until 31 October 2019, with SNH working on securing a longer-term arrangement to deal with the growing number of resident geese.
Claudia Rowse, SNH’s head of natural resource management, 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 know that striking the balance between conservation, farming and hunting can be difficult.
“Our goal is to give farmers and crofters the tools they need to safeguard their crops, enabling them to control goose numbers sustainably, and sell goose meat for profit.”
Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “SNH are to be applauded for taking a sensible, evidence-led approach to the conflict of a growing goose population on Orkney.
“A successful trial period will lead to a long-term arrangement that will be of benefit to the whole of Orkney. This trial will also allow wild goose meat to enter into a new, exciting and unexplored marketplace which is calling out for healthy and sustainable food.”
Thorfinn Craigie, owner of Craigie Butcher Ltd on Orkney, said: “We welcome this trial extension, the licensed sale of goose meat has gone extremely well on Orkney but there is the capacity for it to go further. We have been asking SNH to extend the licence for a number of years and this decision opens many exciting doors.”
The sale of wild goose meat shot outside the project is still prohibited under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981