National Goose Forum minutes: March 2021

Minutes from the meeting of the National Goose Forum on 2 March 2021.

Attendees and apologies

  • Hugh Dignon, SG (Chair)
  • Leia Fitzgerald, SG
  • Donald Fraser, NS                      
  • Morag Milne, NS (secretariat)
  • Rae McKenzie, NS
  • Andy Douse, NS
  • Jessica Findlay, NS
  • Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland
  • Penny Middelton, NFUS
  • Andrew Connon, NFUS
  • Paul Walton, RSPB Scotland
  • Steve Campbell, SASA
  • Karen Ramoo, SLE
  • Brian Minshull, BGAG
  • Nils Bunnefeld, Stirling University
  • Alan Younie, RPID
  • Alan Watson, Orkney LGMG
  • Bill Dundas, RPID
  • Alan Younie, RPID
  • David Muir, Uist LGMG
  • Robert Epps, Islay LGMG
  • Peter Isacsson, Tiree LGMG
  • Alastair Martin, Solway LGMG
  • Duncan MacAlister, Kintyre LGMG
  • Neil McCartney, Shetland LGMG
  • Richard Hearn, WWT
  • Gary Clewley, BTO
  • Liz Humphries, BTO
  • Donald McKinnon, SCF
  • Danny Hepinstall, JNCC


  • Donald McCreath, Strathbeg LGMG
  • Sally Reynolds, Lewis and Harris LGMG
  • Wendy Hunter, Strathbeg LGMG
  • Patrick Krause, SCF

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

HD welcomed everyone to the meeting and reminded attendees that due to the high number of participants, that in future, only one member from each organisation should attend.

Minutes from 25 August 2020 meeting and matters arising

Approved, none

Danny Hepinstall, Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) – an international overview to goose management and African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) processes– presentation

Legal framework that Gov has to work with. AEWA UN treaty 80 countries signed up to it to conserve conservation status.

Will it change from 2021? Covid may delay it. Changes not this winter but likely next winter.

Cat A makes reference to lookalike species? Will have to take account of this such as resident/Icelandic greylags.

Update on requirement to provide bag numbers? British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) – Scotland don’t have robust bag recording system in place. Need to improve this.

BD – Legal framework requires best available data. DH birds directive requires derogation and requires data. AEWA does not require data/less justification.

RM – NS recognises there are data gaps.

RH - Need more info in bag limits.

KW - where do we get that greylags are endangered? DH - its migratory greylags, not residents that the category upgrade is for.

DH - happy for people to email him with any questions.

Update on international AEWA process and progress – Rae McKenzie - presentation

RM - Looking at Svalbard model this year. A lot of work has been done on modelling the Greenland barnacle population and the Svalbard model is likely to be a similar design.

Richard Hearn, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) – an overview of goose populations in Scotland and biological drivers for management – presentation
DM - bag limits for barnacle geese on Uist only 90. It would be helpful if this could be increased, DF to get back to David about this.

Shared approach – Jess Findlay –Presentation on a shared approach to geese and how it is relevant

Goose management is a shared responsibility, working together.

DM –shared approach is highly applicable to Uists. Covid has reduced this. Guns given £5 per goose shot to control geese.

Customer in Lewis takes goose breasts. Wants 30kg breast per month.

BD - what are next steps?

JF – two key aspects – strong communication and sharing of knowledge. Covid impacted but can meet people online. Happy to hear ideas to fill any gaps etc.

NB - could be a phd project to look at this. Biodiversity programmes in Orkney could feed into it. NB could disseminate info to universities.

Greylag geese – an update on their status – Rae McKenzie and Richard Hearn

DM - NatureScot commissioned wildlife management conflicts programme RM - to get back to DM to see why report was not published.

PM - any thoughts on how deal with migratory greylags changing category?

RM - NS currently looking at this and need to sit down with forum and discuss this further. Won’t affect coming season.

An update on the future of Annex 1 goose schemes – Donald Fraser

NatureScot (NS) have made commitments on funding and next steps will look to the future. NS will keep forum up to date.

MM - NS undertook review to look at species that required conservation.

Strathbeg sheme was closed as it was for quarry species pink footed which is doing well. Last spring was last payment.

AC - concerned that funding used to cover compensation and support the pink-footed goose population.

NS happy to discuss this with group.

Any other competent business (AOCB)


Date of next meeting (DONM)

August 2021 – Morag to canvass for dates

2 August 2021 John Gray, Scottish Government

6 August 2021 Morag Milne, NatureScot – amended with changes suggested at 5 August 2021 National Goose Forum (NGF) meeting.

Note: All presentations were circulated within a week of the 2 March 2021 meeting.

Actions from 2 March 2021 meeting

David Muir asked if we had published our (early 2019) NatureScot economic appraisal of wildlife management. Rae offered to find out.

  • on developing future support following closure of current goose schemes in Mar 2023: NatureScot will develop an approach to funding over the summer and communicate with the NGF as our thinking develops
  • David Muir asked if the 2014 Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform (ECCLR) petition about greylag geese would close
  • Paul Walton asked if we had views on the petition to the Iceland parliament extend hunting in the whooper breeding season. A decision was due 1 April 2021. Read the RSPB’s views

Actions from 25 August 2020 meeting

  • NatureScot will ask Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT) for an update on its research into barnacle geese to answer a question about whether management activity on Islay is displacing barnacle geese to other places
  • possible topics for future meetings include a presentation about Apps for Local Goose Management Groups to help with co-ordination and to share data, and a presentation about the barnacle goose model. We could also ask Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) for an update on collar/mark/recapture work on Orkney
Back to top