A National Farmers Union of Scotland (NFUS) press release.....
NFU Scotland is calling for a moratorium on
species reintroduction in Scotland.
In its response to the Scottish Government consultation
on the 2020 challenge for Scotland’s biodiversity, NFU Scotland stated that
there should be no further reintroductions until current species related impacts
experience, it believes a moratorium should be put in place until assurances can
be given regarding the long-term management and funding of new reintroductions.
Issues relating to funding and managing the impacts of other species on
economically vulnerable farms and crofts also need to be resolved.
The comments are made in
light of member concerns over the reintroduction of species such as beavers and
sea eagles, the illegal release of beavers into the wild and reduced funding
levels being offered to those managing Scotland’s growing geese
Jamie Mellor, a
member of NFU Scotland’s Environment and Land Use Committee and the Union’s
representative on the National Species Reintroduction Forum said:
“Given the symbiotic relationship
between biodiversity and farming, there is an urgent need to take stock of the
impact that existing re-introductions and species management schemes are having
before any further steps are taken.
“NFU Scotland firmly believes there should be no further
reintroductions until current species-related impacts are resolved and
assurances can be given regarding the long-term management and funding of new
times we have had members worried over the loss of lambs to sea eagles; the
official trial looking at the reintroduction of beavers to Scotland has been
undermined by their illegal release in Tayside and funding levels to those asked
to manage goose numbers have been cut. That has happened at a time when goose
numbers have soared and their impact on farmland increased.
“The biodiversity consultation also refers to a
code for re-establishing species. We recently welcomed the publication of a
report, commissioned by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), at the request of the
Scotland’s National Species Reintroduction Forum, to help inform debate about
the future management of reintroduced species.
“That report should form the base around which any code
is developed. It would be essential that it takes account of the interests of
land managers and sets out clearly the criteria around how these reintroduced
species should be managed.
“Funding issues also need to be factored in to any such
plans. Restrictions on public finances have meant insufficient budget to
properly support land managers affected by existing legal and illegal
reintroductions, as well as those affected by other species, such as geese. It
is fair that appropriate and accessible funding is made available to vulnerable
farms and crofts to manage the impact that species can have on their
Scotland’s President Nigel Miller added:
“It is appropriate to take a long term look at how we
preserve and maintain Scotland’s biodiversity. Experience suggests we need a
more sophisticated conservation effort in the future, focused on securing
balance between Scotland’s ecology and land management. The days of exclusively
focusing on a flagship species should be left behind if we are to protect our
iconic heritage and fragile rural economies.”