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26 February 2014 06:53:34 |News,Poultry,Shows and Events

National Conference to focus on goose management


NFU Scotland is holding a two-day conference on Islay which will focus on the management of wild geese in Scotland.
The conference, chaired by Ken Rundle of SRUC, will see a range of speakers including the Union’s President Nigel Miller and Deputy Director of Policy Andrew Bauer.
Since the 1970s, there has been a steady increase in goose numbers of some species in parts of Scotland, particularly around the remote and fragile islands and coastal areas. Farmers and crofters in these areas are seeing a significant increase in damage to farmland as a result of growing goose populations and are having to adjust their farming activity to cope.
There will be farm visits on Monday March 10, including to the RSPB Wildlife Reserve at Loch Gruinart.
On Tuesday March 11, the conference at the Ionaid Chaluim Chille Ile (Columba Centre) will cover a range of topics including the challenges set by farming with both protected and quarry species of geese across Scotland.
Also on the bill is Paul Walton, Head of Habitats and Species at the RSPB who will speak about meeting the UK’s nature conservation objectives; David Stroud, Senior Ornithological Adviser Joint Nature Conservation Council and Alyn Walsh National Parks and Wildlife Service in Ireland, amongst others from the industry.
The afternoon will feature workshops for attendees focussing on co-existence of protected species alongside farming as well as the impact of quarry species of geese.
Nigel Miller, president of NFU Scotland who will be speaking at the event, commented:
“This is an important event for not only Islay, but many other areas which have been affected by the increase in the goose population. The lessons learnt and the experience gained on Islay will have a real spin off benefit for other regions.
“From the two-day conference we aim to re-examine the Scottish Government’s policy objectives on goose management and ensure there is a viable future for agricultural businesses which are affected by geese in the Highlands and Islands and other areas of Scotland.
“The future changes to the Common Agricultural Policy will have a significant impact on farmers in these fragile areas. The habitat that has been built by farmers may become damaged if wildlife populations, like geese, are not managed. We need to ensure there is support in place to help farmers cope with growing goose populations.”

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