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26 June, 2019

Sale of goose meat extended in Isles

Both the sale of goose meat and funding has been extended in the Western Isles and Orkney, announced Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) today.

To help farmers and crofters whose crops were being eaten by a rapidly rising goose population, pilot studies were run in local communities in Tiree, Coll, Uist, Lewis, Harris and Orkney. The aim of the pilots was to reduce goose impacts by managing their numbers and by selling goose meat locally.

The studies confirmed that resident greylag goose populations can absorb substantial losses without any effect on their conservation status. Resident greylag geese are a quarry species, listed as a species of Least Concern (not endangered, threatened or vulnerable).

Sally Thomas, SNH’s Director of People & Nature, said:

“Wild geese are an important part of Scotland’s nature, but their rapid rise in numbers has been challenging for farmers and crofters. We understand it’s still an issue in some areas, with a difficult balance between conservation, farming and hunting.

“Our goal is to give farmers and crofters the tools they need to safeguard their crops, by giving them the control to manage goose numbers sustainably through sport shooting, other control, or selling goose meat for profit.”

The pilots are now being extended until the end of 2019. The 2019 transitional Challenge Fund will help local goose groups develop business models to generate income from the sale of resident greylag goose meat in the long term. 

SNH and local goose management groups are also exploring other options together, such as more flexible licences when necessary, a review of bag limits in some areas, and egg-oiling.

The pilot studies cost about £350,000 over five years to March 2017 and an additional £70,000 to March 2019. SNH is now offering a Challenge Fund of £25,000 to support sustainable management, as well as an additional £13,000 for counts and productivity estimates. For more information and to apply, see  


For more information, contact the SNH press office on or 0131 316 2655.

Contact information

SNH Media

Notes to editors

Populations of resident graylag geese expanded very rapidly in some parts of Scotland in recent years, resulting in farmers and crofters struggling to control their impacts using traditional means. In Scotland, farmers and crofters have traditionally controlled resident graylag goose impacts with non-lethal and lethal scaring, undertaking lethal control in the open season and, under much of the closed season, under licence from SNH. 

Scottish Natural Heritage is Scotland's nature agency. We work to improve our natural environment in Scotland and inspire everyone to care more about it. So that all nature in Scotland - our key habitats and landscapes, all our green space and our native species - is maintained, enhanced and brings us benefits. It is the job of all of us to achieve a balance in the sensitive management of our natural world in order to maintain and enhance biodiversity. For more information, visit our website at or follow us on Twitter at

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