Scottish Sheep Farmers to Receive Continued Support Against Sea-Eagle Predation


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Government Allocates £400,000 to Protect Livestock

In an ongoing effort to support sheep farmers affected by predatory sea-eagles, the Scottish government has earmarked up to £400,000 for the Sea Eagle Management Scheme (SEMS) in 2024. This initiative is designed to assist producers in implementing innovative management strategies and experimenting with novel prevention techniques to safeguard their flocks.

Assurance of Support for Farmers

Those currently benefiting from financial aid through long-term management agreements under SEMS have been guaranteed that these payments will persist throughout the year. The scheme provides farmers with funds ranging from £500 to £5,000, aiming to alleviate the impact of white-tailed sea eagles on their livestock.

Protecting Livelihoods and Natural Habitats

White-tailed sea eagles, a protected species known to prey on sheep, have been causing significant losses for farmers, particularly in the western regions of Scotland where alternative prey is scarce. Agriculture Minister Jim Fairlie acknowledged the ‘disruptive attacks’ by sea eagles, emphasizing the importance of the funding in harmonizing the protection of Scotland’s environment with the well-being of rural communities. Fairlie expressed his understanding of the mental and financial strain these attacks impose on farmers and their operations, hoping the continued support will offer much-needed reassurance and aid in mitigating the predatory effects on their flocks.

Commitment to Sustainable Coexistence

NatureScot’s director of green economy, Robbie Kernahan, also expressed support for the extension of the scheme’s funding. Acknowledging the economic toll that white-tailed eagles can have on farms and crofts, he reaffirmed the commitment to maintain SEMS. Kernahan highlighted ongoing efforts to establish management agreements and promised to reach out to those affected at the earliest opportunity, signaling a concerted effort to foster a balance between agricultural interests and wildlife conservation.

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