Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and its partners are opening the sea eagle management scheme to farmers once again this year, as the 2013 sea eagle breeding season gets underway.
The goal is to balance protection of the eagles with supporting tourism and safeguarding livelihoods of farmers. The scheme helps farmers reduce the risk of losing livestock by keeping them healthy and safe. Over the last two years, the management scheme has committed to 50 contracts with land managers worth £164,652 for work such as extra shepherding, fencing, sheep tick and fluke treatment, and management directly benefitting sea eagles. This included work in Skye, Wester Ross, Lochaber, Mull, Lorn, Islay, and the Outer Hebrides.
This year, SNH is also keen to deal with any issues that arise which haven't been addressed by the scheme, as sea eagles move into new territories or come into conflict with livestock. For this service, farmers and crofters should contact their local SNH office to discuss what options are available to help.
SNH's Ross Lilley, the Sea Eagle Scheme Manager, said:
"I'd encourage any farmers or other land managers with concerns about the impact of sea eagles on their livestock to look into the scheme. Sea eagles are a protected species, but we recognise their presence can occasionally lead to conflict with livestock rearing, and we want to help minimise this where possible. For any advice, staff at local SNH offices are there to help."
The sea eagle management scheme is open to anyone who manages land within the vicinity of breeding sea eagles in Scotland. The scheme is operated on behalf of the Sea Eagle Partnership, which includes the Scottish Government, NFU Scotland, RSPB, Scottish Land & Estates (SLE), Scottish Crofting Federation, FCS and Visit Scotland.
The management scheme also provides funding for projects which benefit sea eagles and tourism, such as improving feeding habitat nesting sites or roosts and helping people view sea eagles.