Attendees and apologies
- Claudia Rowse, SNH - Chair
- Morag Milne, SNH (secretariat)
- Rae McKenzie, SNH
- Andy Douse, SNH
- Baz Hughes, WWT
- Brian Minshull, BGAG
- Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland
- Donald McCreath, Strathbeg LGMG
- Jason Rust, SLE
- Jeremy Cusack, Stirling University
- John Gray, SG
- Martin Kennedy, NFUS
- Paul Walton, RSPB Scotland
- Duncan MacAlister, Kintyre LGMG
By video link:
- Alan Watson, Orkney LGMG
- Alan Younie, RPID
- Bill Dundas, RPID
- David Muir, Uist LGMG
- Gill Johnston, Islay LGMG
- Peter Isacsson, Tiree LGMG
- Robert Epps, Islay LGMG
- Sally Reynolds, Lewis and Harris LGMG
- Quintin Donald, Solway LGMG
- Wendy Hunter, Strathbeg LGMG
- Hugh Dignon (Scottish Government)
- Chris Wernham, BTO
- David Cormack, Shetland LGMG
- Gill Hartley, SASA
- Nils Bunnefeld, Stirling University
- Patrick Krause, SCF
Items and actions
In Hugh Dignon’s absence, Claudia acted as Chair and welcomed everyone to the meeting.
Some organisations had sent several representatives to the meeting. Whilst everyone was very welcome to stay to this first NGF meeting, all organisations/groups were asked to send a single representative to future meetings.
Terms of reference (TOR) and ways of working
Terms of reference (TOR)
The NGF has been set up with a broad representation of stakeholders with an interest in goose management, including representation from Local Goose Management Groups (LGMGs). This was warmly welcomed by group members including LGMG representatives.
It is hoped that the NGF can provide a forum where we can share views to identify how best to deliver goose management in the future. However, attendance does not commit members to any single agreement, nor will the NGF act as an advisor to the Scottish Government.
Although participating stakeholders may view goose management from different perspectives, we all have a shared interest in how the Scottish Government’s goose policy is delivered and there is a wealth of experience around the table.
There was some discussion about the draft Terms of Reference (ToR), and suggested membership of the Forum. There was also some discussion about the need for subgroups to the NGF; a Goose Scientific Advisory Group had served the National Goose Management Review Group (NGMRG).
Action point (AP)1: Members were invited to submit their comments on the draft ToR for the NGF. Please submit suggestions to Morag Milne.
(AP)2: SNH to clarify the criteria that will be used to select membership of the NGF and to finalise ToR.
Ways of working
The aim of the NGF is to provide a forum where information about geese can be shared between members, and a participatory approach between members was encouraged so that it does not become a one-way conduit for information from the Scottish Government (SG) or Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH). Members were therefore invited to suggest proposed future agenda items for discussion, and to support these with short paper submissions for future meetings.
The forum will operate with shared common values of respect and tolerance.
It’s anticipated that members will be able to attend future meetings by video conference (VC) at their closest SNH or Rural Payments and Inspections Division (RPID) office if they wish. Should members choose to attend in person they will bear the cost of their own travel and subsistence costs.
Minutes will be published on the SG’s web pages.
In addition to the regular meetings of the Forum, it was suggested that the Forum could also be used to share information between members and to provide a single source of information on goose population trends and other information. Such data is currently available in different places, for example, in goose scheme annual reports, Goose Science Advisory Group (GSAG) reports (previously reported annually to the NGMRG), and information is published on certain web pages e.g. Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT).
(AP)3: Members are asked to confirm that they are content to share their email details with others in the NGF, and to have their names published in the minutes. [Please advise Morag by 30 September 2019. If we do not hear from you by then, we will assume you are content.]
(AP)4: Members are asked to submit useful web links/current sources of information to Morag who will compile a list for the next meeting. We can then identify the most effective ways to share information.
(AP)5: Members were invited to suggest topics for future discussion, and to submit papers for future meetings. Please submit suggestions to Morag Milne.
African Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA) feedback and Barnacle goose management
A paper had been circulated updating information on Barnacle Goose management, and ongoing work through AEWA.
The benefits of working with international countries across the range of Barnacle Geese to develop international flyway planning was welcomed as an important element in taking forward goose management effectively in Scotland. It should provide a better understanding of goose numbers, distribution and bag data across the flyway.
Following publication of the AEWA barnacle goose flyway plan (agreed in December 2018), an initial meeting with AEWA and contributing range states is scheduled for early October, with participating partners including Norway, Iceland and Ireland.
Research into population modelling and goose damage will progress in parallel through several AEWA research teams and we will use these outputs to inform the delivery of the flyway plan, and to set favourable reference values and target population ranges for barnacle goose populations.
It was noted that Scottish Government and SNH had increased its 2019/20 contribution to AEWA to £50,000. This was welcomed by members.
The launch of the new barnacle goose scheme for Uist and Tiree (launched 26 August 2019) was welcomed although it was noted that there were few beneficiaries on Uist and small bag limits.
It was suggested that Steve Percival may hold useful data to the flyway planning process.
There was a query about which goose population model SNH were using to determine this year’s bag limit for barnacle geese on Islay. SNH will use both the old model and the new one that is being developed by Stirling University (unpublished) with recommendations going to the Islay LGMG next week.
There was some discussion about the potential impacts of Brexit, and whether the potential for big shifts in cropping practice in response to EU Exit would be addressed in future models. For example, on the Solway there may be a shift from grass to barley, and a wish to scare geese rather than host them.
(AP)6: Claudia to raise this as part of SG and SNH’s EU Exit contingency plans.
(AP)7: Rae to follow up data issues with Steve Percival.
Update on resident greylag goose work
There was a discussion about the increasing numbers and impacts of resident greylag (RGL) geese in Orkney. It was suggested that current control methods such as shooting and egg oiling can just about manage to prevent further population growth, but additional methods such as corralling may be required to reduce the size of the RGL population on Orkney. SNH has provided support for a feasibility study into corralling through the Challenge Funding.
(AP)8: Morag will share information about corralling from the Netherlands.
Sally asked if LGMGs could share information about the RGL management that they are undertaking and what they are learning.
(AP)9: All LGMGs to share information about RGL management that they are undertaking before the next NGF meeting.
SNH clarified their role in supporting greylag goose management and that they were making the transition from leading demonstration projects (Adaptive Management Pilots) to enabling land managers to control RGL goose impacts. SNH support is provided through funding (a transitional fund for 2019), licensing, support to LGMGs and sale of goose meat. Its next tasks regarding RGL management are to secure long term arrangements for sale of goose meat, support the delivery of adaptive management, report on the General Licence consultation and future licensing arrangements, and to draft a species conservation plan for RGL geese in Scotland.
Bill welcomed the production of a RGL conservation plan to help LGMGs to set population range and offtake targets before the close of the challenge funding (ends in spring 2020).
Some LGMGs do not anticipate being able to self-fund after spring 2020; and they are looking for continued support to cover the costs of RGL management. On Tiree Argyll Estates will manage the resident greylag goose population over the next 2 years and test whether it’s possible to use sport shooting to finance a reduction in goose numbers and agricultural damage whilst maintaining reasonable levels of sport shooting. The forthcoming paper about RGL goose management will show the scale of management required at each site and outline the challenges that LGMGs face. This will help inform NGF discussions and the scope of the RGL conservation plan.
Clarification on sale arrangements was provided including key points that to sell RGL goose meat/carcasses generated by licensed adaptive management projects, a seller must obtain an SNH licence; their premises and vehicles need to be registered with the Local Authority environmental health department, and they need to be an approved small game handler (BASC run courses).
Baz suggested there was little published information available about ongoing RGL management, and suggested that more information about what each group is doing, count data, and possible impacts on Icelandic greylags would be useful.
SNH has agreed to speak with the Icelanders about Icelandic greylag geese (and to share our data about GL numbers, offtake and movements) in preparation for drafting a RGL conservation plan for Scotland.
(AP)10: Morag will compile a more detailed paper about RGL management for the next NGF meeting and, in the interim, speak with WWT.
Any other competent business (AOCB) and date of next meeting (DONM)
Lead shot: WWT asked about SNH’s policy on lead shot which is, in summary, to reduce the use of lead ammunition and to phase it out altogether where possible. SNH is identifying suitable alternatives and the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is undertaking training in the use of non-lead ammunition. The importance of considering any welfare impacts associated with non-lead alternatives were highlighted, and particular concerns were raised about poor welfare impacts resulting from using steel pellets.
(AP)11: WWT will email any specific questions about the use of lead to SNH.
Possible topics for future discussion were suggested. They included future financial support for goose management after 2020/RGL Challenge funding/E.U. exit/the current goose schemes and rural development programme. A presentation about the self-financing approach adopted by Tiree and Coll would be welcome.
DONM: SNH will canvass for dates in December 2019 and January 2020.
Claudia sought feedback from members since this is the first NGF meeting in this format. Feedback was positive, LGMGs were pleased to be included, and WWT’s and Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB’s) involvement was also welcomed.
It was recommended that VC facilities are limited to RPID office connections as they work better together rather than using a range of different connections. [RPID propose to hire local external VC facilities for the Islay and Kintyre LGMGs to use.]
Morag Milne 10 September 2019
Summary of actions and progress
(AP1): Members were invited to submit their comments on the draft (ToR) for the NGF. Please submit suggestions to Morag Milne. Progress: Discharged. None received.
(AP2): SNH to clarify the criteria that will be used to select membership of the NGF and to finalise ToR. Progress: Discharged, ToR finalised.
(AP3): Members are asked to confirm that they are content to share their email details with others in the NGF, and to have their names published in the minutes. [Please advise Morag by 30 September 2019. If we do not hear from you by then, we will assume you are content.] Progress: Discharged. No objections received.
(AP4): Members are asked to submit useful web links/current sources of information to Morag who will compile a list for the next meeting. We can then identify the most effective ways to share information. Progress: Ongoing, some links received.
(AP5): Members were invited to suggest topics for future discussion, and to submit papers for future meetings. Please submit suggestions to Morag Milne. Progress: Discharged for January 2020.
(AP6): Claudia to ask for SG and SNH’s EU Exit contingency plans to consider changes to cropping practice and how they may affect goose numbers/distribution. Progress: Discharged, flagged up to SG Agricultural Policy.
(AP7): Rae to follow up data issues with Steve Percival. Progress: Discharged, meeting arranged.
(AP8): Morag will share information about corralling from the Netherlands. Progress: MM to check. Shared with Orkney.
(AP9): All LGMGs to share information about RGL management that they are undertaking before the next NGF meeting. Progress: ?
(AP10): Morag will compile a more detailed paper about RGL management for the next NGF meeting and, in the interim, speak with WWT. Progress: Ongoing.
(AP11): WWT will email any specific questions about the use of lead to SNH.Progress: Discharged. None received.
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