Economic condition of crofting: 2019 to 2022

This is a report to the Scottish Parliament as outlined in the terms of section 51 of the Crofting Reform (Scotland) Act 2010, reflecting the economic condition of crofting and the measures taken by the Scottish Ministers, the Crofting Commission and others to support crofting during 2019 to 2022.

15. Support for Wildlife Management

15.1 Sea Eagles

15.1.1. The Scottish Government recognises the success of the reintroduction of sea eagles to Scotland. However, it is acknowledged that, in some locations, predation of lambs by sea eagles can have an impact on croft businesses.

15.1.2. The Sea Eagle Management Scheme, administered by NatureScot, offers advice and support for adapting livestock management and prevention measures that can reduce the impact of sea eagles on hill sheep. The scheme was revised in 2020 in response to the concerns of crofters and farmers. The revised scheme offers more flexibility to tailor options to suit individual crofts and farms. The overall scheme budget increased in 2020, to £350,000 per annum and support available to individual applicants for enhanced measures has also increased.

15.2 Geese

15.2.1. Scotland is internationally important for the conservation of wintering geese, hosting around 60% of the global population of Greenland Barnacle Geese and 25% of the global population of Greenland white-fronted geese. Although this is a conservation success story, this success brings problems in regard to the impact high densities of geese have on agriculture land.

15.2.2. Over the last few years, NatureScot has been working with the Local Goose Management Groups on Orkney, Tiree and Coll and on Uists and Lewis and Harris to manage the population of breeding greylag geese. NatureScot will continue to work with stakeholders to balance conservation of geese with reducing and preventing agricultural damage, and is currently undertaking a review of goose management policy that will set out the framework for future management approaches.

15.2.3. The Scottish Government spends approximately £1.2 million each year on goose management across Scotland.

15.3 Deer

15.3.1. The Scottish Government recognises that red deer are an iconic Scottish species. However, wild deer can impact the environment through overgrazing, trampling vulnerable habitats, preventing young trees from growing, and damaging crops. An independent review of wild deer management in Scotland by the Deer Working Group, gave consideration to the impact of Scotland's deer populations, including those specific to crofting communities. In order to progress the recommendations made by that review, the Scottish Government has established a Deer Management Strategic Board under the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy Programme.

15.3.2. Allied to this, a number of pilot projects have been launched to support community deer management. NatureScot, in conjunction with the Scottish Government, has launched a pilot community deer management scheme at Creag Meagaidh National Nature Reserve, a 4,000 hectare property at Kinlochlaggan that is managed by NatureScot.

15.3.3. The pilot scheme brings together a number of local people who are involved in the design of a community scheme to deliver sustainable deer management, including access to deer stalking opportunities. In May 2022, the scheme was advertised locally and was offered to those resident in local Community Council areas. This will support the delivery of site management objectives through the sustainable management of deer, with the associated biodiversity and climate benefits. For those that are interested but have little to no experience in deer stalking, they will be supported by a training and experience pathway to allow them to progress to harvesting wild food for their own consumption.



Back to top