A MORAY CAMPAIGN group calling for an outright ban on the shooting of geese in Findhorn Bay has been meeting with local MSP and Scottish Rural Affairs and Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead.
Over 800 people in the Findhorn area are behind a petition that claims an increase in shooting has resulted in dead and injured birds falling on to their homes.
The Friends of Findhorn Bay group presented documentation to Moray Council in December that called for an outright ban on the controversial right to shoot geese in the area – a tradition that local wildfowlers insist must continue, although they accept that tighter regulations could be put in place.
Mr Lochhead met with representatives arguing for both sides earlier this week in a bid to find some common ground, the MSP saying that he was aware of the growing concerns people have over wildfowling at the Findhorn Nature Reserve. He said that he was aware that an increasing number of sports shooters were being attracted to the area, attracted by larger numbers of geese visiting the Bay.
“This has led to a significant backlash in the local community due to the behaviour of some visitors,” the MSP said, adding: “Some local people want the shooting to stop because it is incompatible with the nature conservation aims of the site.
“Others, including local wildfowlers, take the view that what is needed is regulation to control the number of participants.”
The issue will be discussed at a meeting of Moray Council’s economic development and infrastructure committee in March – and Mr Lochhead is calling on them to consider a request for new by-laws to cover the issue.
A spokesman for the British Association of Shooting and Conservation said that the wildfowling added hundreds of millions of pounds to the Scottish economy.