Wild goose goes on sale in Orkney

Orkney greylag goose has gone on sale to licensed outlets in Orkney as part of the adaptive management pilot project. 

The scheme, which started in 2012, allows locals to control the resident greylag goose population. Licensed controls ensure that the sale of geese does not drive up the number of birds shot to unsustainable levels. The geese will be on sale until March 2017.

“This is the final year of the Orkney greylag goose pilot project,” commented Roseanna Cunningham, cabinet secretary for environment, climate change and land reform. “The Scottish government is committed to this work and we are also determined to support our rural communities – this project helps farmers and crofters and provides a boost to the local economy.”

At the moment, there are four greylag goose pilots in Scotland, designed to manage the resident population. Aside from Orkney, the other schemes are in the Uists; Coll and Tiree; and Lewis and Harris.

The sale of greylag geese is a Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) initiative, with guidance from the National Goose Management Review Group (NGMRG).

“This action will allow a sustainable harvest of geese and help local businesses prepare and sell fresh, seasonal, wild goose meat,” explained Gail Churchill, SNH’s Orkney operations manager. “We have responded to the concerns of local farmers and land managers and we are also committed to ensuring that shooting is controlled, so geese are managed sustainably.

“Goose meat is a good healthy source of protein and we should all be encouraged to eat fresh, eat seasonal, and eat local.”

Cooking geese demonstrations took place at this year’s Orkney County Show by Scotland’s Natural Larder, an SNH initiative that reconnects people with local, seasonal and wild food resources.

“Throughout the day, there was a great deal of interest in trying goose and a lot of favourable feedback, not just about the tasty food on offer, but also about the principle of making the most of this local produce,” added Churchill.

“Now that the sale is permitted again, there is scope to buy prepared goose, for instance goose sausages, bringing an economic benefit to local businesses.”

The scheme in Orkney has been developed and managed in conjunction with the Local Goose Management Group (LGMG), which includes National Farmers’ Union Scotland, Scottish Government Rural Payments & Inspections Directorate, Scotland’s Rural College, and local farmers.

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