National Goose Forum minutes: January 2020

Minutes from the meeting of the National Goose Forum on 23 January 2020.

Attendees and apologies

  • Hugh Dignon, SG (Chair)
  • Claudia Rowse, SNH                     
  • Morag Milne, SNH (secretariat)
  • Rae McKenzie, SNH
  • Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland
  • Penny Middelton, NFUS
  • Duncan Orr-Ewing, RSPB Scotland
  • Patrick Krause, SCF
  • Richard Hearn, WWT
  • Brian Minshull, BGAG
  • Nils Bunnefeld, Stirling University

By video link:

  • Kerry Ormond, Orkney LGMG
  • Bill Dundas, RPID
  • David Muir, Uist LGMG
  • Craig Archibald, Islay LGMG
  • Peter Isacsson, Tiree LGMG
  • Donald MacKinnon, Lewis and Harris LGMG
  • Alastair Martin, Solway LGMG
  • Duncan MacAlister, Kintyre LGMG
  • David Cormack, Shetland LGMG
  • Jess Shaw, SNH


  • Chris Wernham, BTO
  • Gill Hartley, SASA
  • Karen Ramoo, SLE
  • Wendy Hunter, Strathbeg LGMG

Items and actions

Minutes and matters arising

Minutes and matters arising from the National Goose Forum (NGF) meeting on 21 August 2019 will be addressed by correspondence.

Terms of reference (ToR) and ways of working

Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has an outstanding action to review the ToR for the Goose Scientific Advisory Group (GSAG) and how it relates to the National Goose Forum (NGF). SNH will provide an update at the next meeting.

Goose populations in Scotland – paper 1

Jess Shaw introduced a paper summarising the latest information on goose populations in Scotland 2018/2019. There were a number of clarifications and points made in the following discussion with issues raised including understanding the Uist greylag population, the apparent decline in Icelandic greylags; the changes in Barnacle geese numbers and distribution. The Uist Local Goose Management Group (LGMG) noted their desire for a bigger bag limit to allow crofters to shoot as many barnacle geese (3.8% of the population) as undertaken through the Islay Strategy. 

SNH update 

African Eurasian Migratory Waterbird Agreement (AEWA)

  • SNH had a productive meeting with international partners representing all countries (Iceland, UK, Ireland, Denmark (Greenland); and Norway) across the two populations of Greenland and Svalbard Barnacle Geese. The meeting was chaired and facilitated by AEWA (African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement) European Goose Management Platform (EGMP) set up through the United Nations Environment Programme
  • the aim of the meeting was to bring together range state partners to agree an international approach to managing Barnacle Geese in a way that meets conservation objectives (in line with Natura, Bern Convention, and the AEWA obligations), the interests of hunters and shooters, and that minimises the impacts on agriculture
  • we agreed to produce a draft Adaptive Flyway Management Plan for the Greenland population by June 2020

Annex 1 goose schemes

  • SNH is drafting a timetable for developing 2021/24 goose schemes and associated research and monitoring work

Greylag management

  • following discussions over the last year, SNH has focused on providing tools to enable local groups to manage growing populations of greylags with less reliance on the public purse. It is currently considering licensing arrangements for 2020 (including sale of goose meat) and further funding for greylag management
  • in discussion the meeting noted that further goose damage measurements will be taken on Islay this year and SNH will report towards the end of the year. The results will inform the Islay Strategy and development of the barnacle Adaptive Flyway Management Plan
  • initial contact has been made with Government officials in Iceland to improve understanding of what is happening to Icelandic greylag geese. We are sharing information about current monitoring and management activities in both countries. The total annual bag in Iceland is about 42,000 birds. It was suggested that bag returns from Scotland are required to develop an SNH greylag plan as well as mark/recapture and improving the Iceland census data
  • SNH has an outstanding action from the last meeting to progress the greylag action plan but other priorities, such as sale arrangements for goose meat in 2020 have taken priority
  • National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS) and SNH staff are to meet with Campbeltown farmers in February to discuss their concerns about greylag geese
  • farmers on Islay have found the General Licence arrangements helpful (allowing greylag geese to be shot to protect crops in July and August)
  • it was suggested that the Scottish Government could contribute more to greylag goose management as part of a joint endeavour with the agriculture department
  • Orkney updated us on their work on egg oiling and corralling. A feasibility study of potential approaches is currently underway


Two very interesting presentations followed - one about Taiga bean geese on the Slamanan Plateau from Brian Minshull, Bean Goose Action Group; and one about recent research into how people make decisions where they may hold conflicting views from Nils Bunnefeld of Stirling University.

Nils would be pleased to receive further queries by email (

Any other competent business and date of next meeting (DONM)

SNH has published several reports on SNH’s web pages:

AP1: members were invited to suggest topics for future discussion, and to submit papers for future meetings. Please submit suggestions to Morag Milne. Lead shot was suggested as a possible topic for future discussion

DONM: SNH will canvass for dates in August 2020 and December 2020.

Morag Milne 24 January 2020

Summary of actions

  • members were invited to suggest topics for future discussion, and to submit papers for future meetings. Please submit suggestions to Morag Milne
  • to pursue Any Other Business (AOB) items through the secretariat, as we ran out of time to discuss these
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