From this week, wild goose meat will be on sale at licensed outlets in the Uists. Resident greylag geese have expanded rapidly, over the years, causing significant agricultural damage. This has presented some challenges for crofters and farmers in certain areas.
Work to control the resident goose population to tackle these issues is being trialled through a Scottish Natural Heritage programme on the Uists, Orkney and Tiree. The long-term goal is to minimise agricultural damage whilst still maintaining a viable goose population. The sale of geese shot as part of this management could generate important income for the local community and help to pay for some of the goose management work.
Goose meat went on sale in Orkney during 2013 and now the Uist pilot project has followed suit. The sale is restricted by license to local outlets. Johanne Ferguson, SNH’s Operations Manager, for the Outer Hebrides, and secretary to the local goose group confirmed: “This is a very exciting development and is something the local goose group (and wider community) have been working towards for a very long time. Being able to sell the geese shot as part of the Pilot should hopefully provide a means to make goose management self-funding into the future. In the meantime, several local businesses are very interested in the prospect of developing goose products. Others are just looking forward to being able to use and promote, delicious local wild goose on their menus.”
The sale of resident greylag geese and the Goose Management Pilots are being trialled in Scotland under the auspices of SNH, advised by the National Goose Management Review Group (NGMRG).
And while SNH is responsible for issuing the licences, the council is the competent authority for local delivery of the food hygiene regulations.
In Uist the project has been led by the Local Goose Management Group (LGMG) which includes crofters; shooting interests; landowners; Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF); Comhairle nan Eilean Siar (CNES); Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate (SGRPID); and SNH.