Friday, 23 June 2017

Armadale tracking project - Marine Scotland is tracking salmon from July 2017 and would like your help.


Marine Scotland is tracking salmon from July 2017 and would like your help.

If you catch a salmon with a tag (as shown in the attached photograph) near the dorsal
fin, then please remove it by cutting through the plastic cord to remove the acoustic tag
(black cylinder). Please note that the colour of the cord may vary from yellow.



Please send the acoustic tag, also with a note of day and location of capture, to:

Armadale Tracking,
Freshwater Fisheries Laboratory,
Faskally,
Pitlochry,
PH16 5LB

Please enclose your name, postal and email (if applicable) address and we will send
you £20 in reward.

If you have any other information about the fish (eg a photo, length, sex) then please
include it when you send in the tag. However, please do not delay the safe return of the
fish to the water to obtain any such information.

With thanks



The Armadale Tracking Team

Thursday, 22 June 2017

TAIL SHORTENING FOR WORKING DOGS APPROVED: CHAIRMAN'S STATEMENT


SGA Chairman Alex Hogg made the following announcement to the media immediately after a vote in the Scottish Parliament on 21st June 2017 which saw tail shortening for two breeds of working dogs approved.

“This is recompense for all working Spaniels and HPRs who have had to endure 10 years of painful injuries. The ban on tail docking in 2007 was made with good intentions but failed to account for working dogs, whose jobs are very specific. The welfare of these animals was compromised by the legislation and Scottish Government deserve immense credit for taking a progressive, evidence-based step to rectify that today.
“Some have conflated tail shortening with full tail docking, which leaves dogs with only a stump. This is the opposite. It is a quick, preventative procedure protecting the animal over its whole working life, leaving it with an expressive, waggy tail.
“Failure to act, when Glasgow University research showed that over 1 in 2 Spaniels, without shortened tails, were injured in a single season, would have been to turn a blind eye to suffering.
The Scottish Government, rural vets who have experienced the welfare issues first hand, and all other MSPs who have supported working dogs, can be assured that what they have done is the right thing."
Ends.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

TRAINING SUPPORT FOR LAND MANAGERS


Land based workers in the Cairngorms National Park are being encouraged to apply to the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) for funding towards training courses.
This year’s Land Management Training & Knowledge Exchange Programme is open for applications from estate staff, farmers, foresters and other people who work the land in the National Park.

Up to 30 per cent of the cost of eligible short courses – such as ATV driving, pesticide spraying, chainsaw use – is available and reasonable travel costs can also be included in the claim.

Penny Lawson, one the CNPA’s Land Management Officers said: “Many rural businesses in and around the Cairngorms National Park regularly take advantage of the Training & Knowledge Exchange Programme when training needs come up but the CNPA is keen to see a wider range of land-based organisations of any size, or even individuals, coming forward to access this support.

“As well as partially funding training arranged by the businesses themselves, we can also organise bespoke courses, training seminars and knowledge exchange events on a wide variety of topics. We know that we need well trained land managers to help us deliver the aims of the Cairngorms National Park Partnership Plan so we are keen to hear from land managers what they would like and need with regards to training and information events.”


For more information please visit the CNPA website: http://cairngorms.co.uk/park-authority/training-support/rural-skills-training-2/ or contact Penny Lawson via email: pennylawson@cairngorms.co.uk or tel: 01479 873535.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

TAIL SHORTENING FOR WORKING DOGS CLEARS COMMITTEE STAGE


The SGA is pleased to announce to members that the exemption to the Animal Welfare legislation which could see tail shortening of working Spaniels and HPRs, by up to one third, permitted in Scotland, for welfare reasons, has been approved at today's session of the ECCLR Committee.
The motion by Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham passed by 7 votes to 3 with no abstentions following the morning debate.
This represents a significant step on a long journey towards better protection for working animals in Scotland and the SGA would like to remind all members to continue to make the calm, principled case for this exemption to proceed and provide benefit.
For this to become law, it must still be approved by the House so more work remains to be done and the SGA will continue to make the case, with your help and the assistance of supportive rural vets, who have provided very useful and practical evidence.
Keep working towards the goal so working dogs no longer have to suffer.

Monday, 12 June 2017

FINAL FIVE DAYS TO NOMINATE YOUNG GAMEKEEPER OF THE YEAR


The SGA would like to thank all those who, so far, have nominated candidates for the SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year award, 2017.
Many excellent entries have been received but there is still time to nominate that female or male you believe truly has what it takes.
Nominations will close this Friday, with informal interviews of shortlisted candidates taking place the week after.
The official announcement of the winner will be made at the SGA stand at the GWCT Scottish Game Fair in the grounds of Scone Palace on Friday June 30th, where the award will be presented by Highlands and Islands MSP Edward Mountain, who is also convener of the Rural Economy and Connectivity Committee at Holyrood.

We look forward to seeing you all at Scone. Further details of the award announcement will be posted, here. Please join us for the award ceremony and to enjoy the traditional SGA hospitality.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

SGA STATEMENT: SNH SAT TAGGED EAGLE REPORT

Statement (in full, as given to media early today): SNH Report into missing tagged eagles.
A Spokesman for The Scottish Gamekeepers Association said: “Losing, on average, 4 tagged eagles per year across Scotland is totally unacceptable. The illegal killing of any eagle is condemned wholeheartedly by the SGA and all law abiding gamekeepers.
“Although this study assimilates 12 years of evidence and makes difficult reading, it does acknowledge recent improvements in some grouse moor areas previously associated with suspected persecution.
“This change has contributed to the overall betterment of the golden eagle’s conservation status, as recently reported. 
“That said, problems clearly still exist in some hotspot areas and, in our view, this can only be tackled by all partners having access to the same telemetry data in order to arrive at shared and targeted solutions.
“If this had been happening over the past decade, there is a high likelihood these problems could have been tackled satisfactorily before now.
“The SGA does not believe the report adequately tackles the threat wind farms pose to raptor species as there is a significant amount of published data from other countries which show a negative correlation between bird survival and turbine strike.
“However, that is not an attempt in any way to detract from the report’s findings.”

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

SGA MAGAZINE DELAY

Dear members, please be advised that the Summer edition of Scottish Gamekeeper is currently running slightly behind schedule for delivery due to unprecedented workload issues.

We fully expect some of the backlog to clear by the middle of next week and members should expect their magazines to be hitting doorsteps towards the end of June.

We apologise for the delay of your favourite reading material but can promise, as ever, exciting news, features and analysis in your 'eagerly awaited' Summer issue.

Yours. The Editor, Scottish Gamekeeper.

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

GAMEBIRD LICENSING IN SCOTLAND


Please find (below) a message to all SGA members and those who have contacted us following the decision of the ECCLR Committee (May 23rd) to write to Cabinet Secretary Roseanna Cunningham recommending further exploration, with stakeholders, of a licensing system for ‘intensive’ grouse management systems in Scotland.


We respect the vote of the ECCLR Committee and will continue to work constructively with Scottish Government.

However, as a representative body, we take our responsibilities to our law abiding gamekeeping members- who are in the overwhelming majority- seriously, and will defend their right to go about lawful work free of fear of having their livelihoods threatened by those who will be emboldened by the potential of seeing licences revoked. 

The SGA will not defend wrongdoing, and has taken action when its position on wildlife crime has been breached. But we also believe honest working people deserve to have their rights to 

employment protected. Any decision which could ultimately see a business - in any field - ended, with resultant loss of employment, ought to be taken on the appropriate, substantive standard of proof rather than on the basis of suspicion. We view this as a fundamental right.

Friday, 19 May 2017

PLEASE ANSWER CALL FOR FURTHER RATIONALE FOR TAIL SHORTENING OF WORKING DOGS


The SGA is asking all members and owners of working dogs to respond to ECCLR Committee's call for additional rationale for introducing an exemption to allow vets to shorten the tails of working Spaniels and Hunt Point Retrievers by up to a third, in the first few days of a pup's life, in order to protect the dog from greater harm in later life.

Evidence is being sought, up until noon on 1st June 2017. The requirements are to be found here: http://www.parliament.scot/parliamentarybusiness/CurrentCommittees/104836.aspx

The notice asks, specifically: The Committee is interested in receiving views on the specific provisions of the draft Regulations that provide any additional rationale on whether such an exemption for tail docking of working dogs should be permitted.

If your working dogs have experienced painful tail injury whilst working, as as result of the ban on tail shortening (see image above), please give your accounts to the Committee or if you have other experience of this issue, please take the opportunity to make your voice heard.






Tuesday, 16 May 2017

FUR & FEATHER DON’T ALWAYS GO TOGETHER!

Our much-loved, four-legged furry friends give us endless amounts of joy and while out walking our dogs, it’s an added bonus to our daily activity if we see some great wildlife.
However, fur and feather don’t always mix! At this time of year, our woodlands, moorlands and farmland areas are full of ground nesting birds – species such as capercaillie, grouse, lapwings, curlews and hen harriers to name a few. These birds don’t nest up trees; they prefer the ground and are therefore so much more vulnerable to predation and disturbance.
The breeding season is now well underway – between early March and the end of July – so to protect our wildlife, the Cairngorms National Park Authority (CNPA) is asking dog walkers to keep canines under very close control or preferably on a lead.

Andy Ford, Cairngorms Nature Manager said: “When disturbed, birds may be prevented from settling, or if already nesting they will fly away from their nests, neglecting their eggs or chicks. Ground nesting birds are extremely vulnerable, and with some very rare species in the Cairngorms National Park, we need to do all we can to help them. Furthermore it is a criminal offence to disturb the nests of rare birds whether intentionally or not. This also includes disturbance caused by your dog.”

The CNPA’s advice is – wherever possible – stick to tracks or paths. If you know or suspect a nest is close by, try your best to avoid it and give a wide berth to young birds or to adult birds that seem to be distressed. There are many local walks in the Park where it may be suitable to have your dog off a lead such as along the Speyside or Deeside Way, Ellan Woods in Carr-Bridge or around Craigendarroch at Ballater.

The CNPA’s Recreation and Access Manager, David Clyne commented: “Dog walking is a great way to keep active and we want to encourage more people to walk or take part in some form of physical activity daily in the National Park for peoples’ health and wellbeing. Everyone has the same access rights whether they have a dog or not, what the Scottish Outdoor Access Code states, is that we have to exercise those rights responsibly. Yes go ahead and walk the dog but please make sure that at this time of year particularly, dogs and nesting birds are kept apart.”

For more information please visit the Scottish Outdoor Access Code website http://www.outdooraccess-scotland.com/Practical-guide/public/dog-walking