New Sea Eagle Management Scheme launched for 2015


A new scheme has been introduced this in year in Scotland to continue support for livestock farmers and crofters experiencing impacts across the sea eagle breeding range. The sea eagle management scheme will be managed by local stakeholder groups set up across the sea eagle range and administered, on their behalf, by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH).

The stakeholder groups are represented on a national scheme panel with members from SNH, National Farmers Union Scotland (NFUS), RSPB Scotland, Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS), Scottish Government Rural Payments and Inspections Directorate (SGRPID) and Scottish Crofting Federation (SCF). Initially, stakeholder groups have been set up in Argyll & Lochaber, Skye & Lochalsh, and Wester Ross. Other groups may be established where the demand arises.

The scheme will operate from 2015 to 2018 and will investigate all issues involving sea eagle impacts on livestock. It will also trial prevention measures where required and practical. Support is available through experienced contractors, loan of equipment, and payments to land managers who undertake prevention measures as part of their livestock management.
Ross Lilley, SNH sea eagle scheme manager, says:

“We’d like to ask all farmers and crofters who experience issues with sea eagles and livestock to contact their local SNH office. The staff at the local SNH office will arrange for someone to respond and investigate on behalf of the local stakeholder group.”

Scheme advisors will:

  • investigate, as far as possible, what sea eagle activity is occurring in the vicinity of the farm.
  • help gather evidence of sea eagle impacts and the recording of any livestock losses due to sea eagles or other causes.
  • advise on measures to mitigate against sea eagle impacts.
  • arrange to loan equipment, where applicable, to use as deterrents or other mitigation.
  • make recommendations to SNH and the local stakeholder group on support for longer term management carried out by the livestock manager.
Lachie Maclean, a Mull farmer, NFUS member and Chair of the Argyll and Lochaber stakeholder group, says: “Funding for the new scheme has been substantially increased compared to the previous scheme and is another action implemented from the NFUS/SNH joint statement agreed last year.

“The sea eagle scheme panel are keen to record all incidents of reported sea eagle impacts as the sea eagle population continues to expand into its former range. Only by thoroughly understanding the part sea eagles play in livestock losses can we work together with partners to help develop ways to deal with any losses in the longer term.”

NFUS president Nigel Miller yesterday described the agreement with SNH as a “significant milestone”.

“The joint plant will be driven through regional groups involving farmers and crofters, and has a clear timetable,” he said.

“To secure vital progress, the partnership must ensure that the process is inclusive and takes account of farmers’ and crofters’ views and experiences.

“Collaboration will provide the foundations for a programme that minimises lamb losses and safeguards sheep flocks whilst also underpinning a sustainable sea eagle population.”

SNH chairman Ian Ross said the organisation was committed to working with farmers and crofters to tackle the impact of sea eagles on sheep.

“It is also important to recognise the economic benefits that sea eagles bring to tourism, particularly to rural areas, while acknowledging that in some cases, sea eagles have taken live lambs,” added Mr Ross.

“We are working closely with farmers and crofters to minimise the conflict between the birds and their impact on livestock.”

Contact details for SNH area offices can be found at

2 comments to New Sea Eagle Management Scheme launched for 2015

  • Circus maxima

    So we pay farmers to destroy habitats…then we pay them again when the habitats aren’t capable of supporting the eagles?

  • nirofo

    Be interesting to see what sort of ridiculous claims for compensation the crofters and farmers come up with. Some of the claims that are made are so stupid it makes you wonder if the people making them have all their marbles in one box. Just as an example, did you hear the one about the eagle that carried off a hogg, (a hogg is an almost full grown sheep).

    While it’s not denied that eagles will take some lambs, the majority of which are already dead when taken, I have a feeling, no, a conviction that many of the claims of lamb losses are down to bad management and tall tales by the crofters rather than predation by “any type of eagle”. It’s fairly well known among ornithologists who have been seriously involved with eagles for any length of time in sheep infested areas, that certain crofters will go to any lengths to get rid of them. Having witnessed first hand some of the strokes they get up, burning out eyries, poisoning, shooting etc, I wouldn’t put anything past them.