Monday, 26 June 2017

SCONE GAME FAIR: WHAT'S ON.


The SGA is looking forward to welcoming members and supporters this weekend to the 29th GWCT Scottish Game Fair in the grounds of Scone Palace.
On Friday morning (time tbc), Edward Mountain MSP will present the 2017 SGA Young Gamekeeper of the Year award and it would be great to see as many people as possible in the tent for the announcement.
The prize is the most sought after award for an early years professional working on land or river in Scotland and the award committee will be picking from a very strong short-list of 3 final candidates.
We will update later this week on the exact time of the Young Gamekeeper award announcement.
Also on the Friday, at 1.30pm for a one-hour drop-in session, members of SNH’s Species Licensing team will be on hand to answer members’ questions regarding species licensing in Scotland as the SGA builds on its key message that legal solutions are the way to solve species conflicts.
If you have questions regarding the Wildlife and Countryside Act and legal options, please speak to the SNH team.
Over the three days, the SGA will be hosting acclaimed Braemar-based photographer Steven Rennie, whose images of rural land and wildlife, as well as the people who live and work in these places, have captivated so many people.
Game and Wildlife lecturers from North Highland College UHI will be on hand to seek to people about courses and careers in the game sector and we will once again have the team from CIC trophy measuring who can evaluate sporting trophies to international standard.
New SGA calendars and diaries will be available as well as tickets for the 2017 Polaris Sportsman 570 and the Hambaur Star Trailer, sponsored by Judge’s Choice Petfood Ltd to mark the 20th Anniversary of the SGA.
We’ll see you all there. 

For more details about the Fair, see: http://www.scottishfair.com




Rural Watch Scotland launched at Royal Highland Show

On Friday at the Royal Highland Show, Ingliston the partnership of Police Scotland, NFU Scotland and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland will launch their Rural Watch Scotland initiative.

'Rural Watch Scotland' is an extension of the Neighbourhood Watch concept and a product of the *Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) designed specifically for the rural communities of Scotland and aims to bring all the benefits of Neighbourhood Watch to rural communities irrespective of location, size or demographics.

Rural Watch Scotland launch The objectives of Rural Watch Scotland are to:
•Reduce crime and the fear of crime by providing the right information, to the right people, at the right time,
•Encourage people to think about safety and security for themselves, their neighbours and their community,
•Improve community cohesion and well-being,
•Work in partnership with national and local service providers to develop more resilient communities that are better prepared against threats, intentional or unintentional, such as crime or extreme weather.

In meeting these objectives effective communication between partners and consistent engagement with rural communities is vital. Neighbourhood ALERT, a targeted, two way messaging system specifically designed in the UK for the purposes of community engagement will play a central role in providing consistent, locally relevant and inclusive communication with people living and working within a rural setting. 

The last six months has seen the establishment of a local Neighbourhood ALERT administrator network across all areas of Police Scotland.

Rural Watch Scotland encourages people to sign up to receive alerts and advice by email, text or voicemail from local police officers and other approved information providers. Keeping communities informed about crime and other threats in their areas can help prevent crime, keep communities and residents safe, and the response to these alerts can help catch criminals or allow communities to better prepare to deal with local issues.

To sign up to receive local ALERTS users simply click the green JOIN button on the Rural Watch Website – www.ruralwatchscotland.co.uk. Experience provides that people who sign up to Rural Watch Scotland and thereafter apply the advice they receive will be less likely to be a victim of crime and be better prepared for other potential harm.

Signing up for local ALERTS does not require anyone to join or start up a formal Rural Watch scheme, however the benefits of joining or establishing such a local community group are always available.

Superintendent Gavin Robertson, who chairs the SPARC Group said: “The availability of a national Rural Watch Alert platform has been one of the main aims of SPARC since it was formed in 2015. I am pleased to see the service come to fruition. 

"I am confident that this direct messaging system will benefit rural communities and I urge farmers, foresters, rural businesses and residents as well as those who regularly visit the countryside for leisure activities to sign up to receive relevant information about rural crime in their area. I am grateful for the funding from Neighbourhood Watch Scotland, NFU Scotland and Police Scotland to bring a consistent messaging service to all rural communities across the country.”

Jamie Smart, NFU Scotland’s Legal and Technical Policy Committee Chairman, commented: “NFU Scotland has been working closely as part of the SPARC group to reduce rural crime in all its forms, and we are starting to see some real benefits from this partnership.”

“This new platform is designed to allow faster communications, alerting those in the rural communities of problems or potential problems in their own area. This service is free, can be tailored to your own requirements and only takes minutes to register.”

“We would urge all of our members to register their details to stay informed of all of the latest developments in their area.”

Detective Chief Inspector Ronnie Megaughin, Safer Communities, Police Scotland said, “We are delighted that the Rural Watch Alert messaging system is now available across Scotland. Rural Watch messaging system is an excellent facility to get relevant information to rural residents about crime and incidents in their local area and I am grateful for the support given by Neighbourhood Watch Scotland in getting us to this point”

Alan Dobie, Chair of the Neighbourhood Watch Scotland Board said: “We are delighted to be working with our partners to bring the benefits of strong, resilient and well connected communities to all the rural areas in Scotland”.

*The Scottish Partnership Against Rural Crime (SPARC) is a multi-agency partnership that includes Police Scotland, NFU Scotland, Scottish Land & Estates, Scottish Business Resilience Centre, Scottish Government, NFU Mutual, Crimestoppers, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service and Neighbourhood Watch Scotland.

Contact Details


Call 101 for non-emergencies and general enquiries, in an emergency call 999. If you have information about a crime you can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111. 

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.