ORKNEY GOOSE meat will shortly be arriving on the shelves of supermarkets Scotland-wide, following a trial by Scottish Natural Heritage to extend the licence allowing the sale of greylag goose meat outside of the island.

Farmers and crofters have been plagued by the impact of a rising geese population for several years, making this recent approval by the European Commission a welcome one, increasing the scope for individuals to safeguard their crops and sell goose meat for profit.

Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, the sale of goose meat is traditionally restricted, however, for several years it has been sold under licence on Orkney to sustainably control the growing resident greylag geese population.

The trial period for off-island sales will run from August 1, 2019, until October 31, 2019, with SNH working on securing a longer-term arrangement to deal with the growing number of resident geese.

SNH’s head of natural resource management, Claudia Rowse, 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 know that 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,” she explained.

BASC Scotland director, Colin Shedden added: “SNH are to be applauded for taking a sensible, evidence-led approach to the conflict of a growing goose population on Orkney. A successful trial period will lead to a long-term arrangement that will be of benefit to the whole of Orkney. This trial will also allow wild goose meat to enter into a new, exciting and unexplored marketplace which is calling out for healthy and sustainable food.”

The owner of Craigie Butchers Ltd on Orkney, Thorfinn Craigie welcomed this trial extension: “The licensed sale of goose meat has gone extremely well on Orkney but there is the capacity for it to go further. We have been asking SNH to extend the licence for a number of years and this decision opens many exciting doors.”