NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Plan to sell meat from wild geese shot in Orkney

Greylag geese Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Greylag geese numbers have risen dramatically on Orkney in the past 10 years

Meat from wild geese shot in Orkney will go on sale across Scotland for the first time.

Islanders have been able to legally cull a set number of greylag geese since 2012 after the birds' booming population damaged farmers' crops.

In the first couple of years of the project the dead birds were sent to landfill.

But since then the meat has been licensed for sale in Orkney, with goose burgers among the products on offer.

Now, Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) has announced a trial project to sell the meat across Scotland.

'Rapid rise'

Sales will be licensed from 1 August to 31 October.

Claudia Rowse, SNH's head of natural resource management, said: "Wild geese are an important part of Scotland's nature but their rapid rise in numbers has been challenging for farmers and crofters.

"Striking the balance between conservation, farming and hunting can be difficult.

"Our goal is to give farmers and crofters the tools they need to safeguard their crops, enabling them to control goose numbers sustainably and sell goose meat for profit."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Since 2012 islanders have been able to legally cull a set number of greylag geese

SNH runs the Orkney Resident Greylag Goose Project and said the number of overall geese on the islands would be maintained at a "healthy, sustainable population".

RSPB figures indicate the resident greylag geese population in Orkney increased from 300 breeding pairs in 2002 to more than 10,000 geese by 2008.

The sale of wild goose meat shot outwith the project remains illegal.

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