Views needed on impact of sea eagles on farms

Since their reintroduction, there has been a growing impact of the birds on Scottish sheep flocks
Since their reintroduction, there has been a growing impact of the birds on Scottish sheep flocks

NFU Scotland is seeking views on the impact of white-tailed sea eagles on farmers' businesses and livelihoods.

Since the birds' reintroduction, there has been a growing number of reports of sheep flock attacks in the west coast of Scotland, including Skye.

According to the union, many farmers have experienced a significant year-on-year losses to the birds, particularly in areas where there is a lack of alternative prey.

In a report released last year, one farm demonstrated a loss of 181 lambs in the period 2012-2018.



The new survey is being undertaken on the back of a review of the work carried out under the existing White-tailed Eagle Action Plan.

The review, by NatureScot, will look at the information gathered to help inform the direction of the action plan for the next three to five years.



Hill farmer and NFUS Environment and Land Use Committee Chair, Angus MacFadyen, said 'serious agricultural damage' was occurring because of the birds.

"This survey will give us a vital up-to-date snapshot of what impact the birds may be having on the businesses and livelihoods of those affected," he said.

"Our survey not only looks at the impacts but asks for views on scheme management, structure and future funding."

Those farmers and crofters impacted by white-tailed eagles are asked to complete the NFUS survey online. The deadline for responses is 7 September.

Farmers have also been reminded of the deadline for annual applications to the Sea Eagle Management Scheme is 18 September.

The management scheme offers support for adapting livestock management and for trialling prevention measures.

"We remind those affected that the deadline for annual applications is 18 September," Mr MacFadyen added.