FARMERS and crofters are being asked to give their up-to-date view on the impact of White Tailed (Sea) Eagles on their businesses and livelihoods.

The information is being gathered ahead of the September 18 deadline for applications to the Sea Eagle Management Scheme – so the deadline for responses is September 7.

The NFUS survey is also being undertaken on the back of a draft review, being undertaken by NatureScot (formerly SNH), of the work carried out so far under the White-tailed eagle (sea eagle) action plan. It is hoped that the lessons learned to date can inform the direction of the action plan for the next three to five years – and NFUS will use its survey to formulate its response to the NatureScot review.

Environment and land use chairman Angus MacFadyen, a hill farmer near Oban said: “Since their reintroduction, there has been a growing impact of the birds on sheep flocks in the west coast, including Skye, with many farmers and crofters experiencing significant year-on-year losses to WTEs, particularly in areas where there is a lack of alternative prey. This survey will give us a vital up-to-date snapshot of what impact the birds may be having on the businesses and livelihoods of those affected. We know, for some, serious agricultural damage is occurring.

“Review of the existing action plan presents an opportunity to ensure it is fit for purpose for the next three to five years and information gathered through our survey will help inform our response to the NatureScot review," he explained. "Our survey not only looks at the impacts but asks for views on scheme management, structure and future funding.

“Farmers and crofters experiencing sea eagle impacts on their livestock are reminded of the opportunity to join the management scheme, which offers support for adapting livestock management and for trialling prevention measures – we remind those affected that the deadline for annual applications is September 19.

“NFUS remains committed through the collaborative approach with Scottish Government, NatureScot and other stakeholders to find practical solutions to the management of White-tailed Eagles and we will share with them the results of our survey,” added Mr MacFadyen.

Affected livestock keepers can complete the survey at: