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Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
Licensing Arrangements for
Shooting Birds to Prevent Serious
Damage to Fisheries
GUIDANCE NOTES FOR STOCKED FISHERIES
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Power to grant licences
1. Scottish Natural Heritage have authority under section 16(1)(k) of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to grant licences to permit the killing or taking of wild birds for the purpose of preventing serious damage to fisheries. If the killing complies with the terms of such a licence then the prohibition in section 1 of the Act will not apply. In Scotland Scottish Natural Heritage is the licensing Authority for licences to shoot birds which damage fisheries.
Arrangements for the granting of licences
2. Scottish Natural Heritage have made the following arrangements for the granting of licences:
2.1 licences for the protection of stocked fisheries will normally only be granted to the owner or occupier;
2.2 licences will only be granted where alternative non-lethal methods of control have proved unsuccessful or impractical. Even where a licence has been granted, shooting should be undertaken in the first instance to scare rather than kill, where this is a feasible option;
2.3 for predation occurring, or likely to occur, in stocked fisheries, applications for licences will normally be considered to shoot cormorants (Phalacrocorax carbo), herons (Ardea cinerea), goosanders (Mergus merganser) and mergansers (Mergus serrator).
2.4 normally licences will only be issued for a specified period between 1 September and 30 April; and
2.5 Scottish Natural Heritage will consult advisors from Marine Scotland and the Scottish Agricultural Science Agency (SASA).
3. Evidence of serious damage occurring, or likely to occur, must be provided before consideration will be given to granting a licence, i.e. you must complete the instructions given in 3.1 and 3.2 below. Please attach all information as copies of actual records, or compiled information, to the back of the application form if necessary.
3.1 Evidence of declining fish stocks will normally include the following:-
type of fishery (commercial, private members, combination of commercial/private);
dates of opening;
monthly catch figures (numbers and weights of fish taken) for all months when fishing occurs;
numbers of bird-damaged fish caught per month;
net and/or gross income (please indicate which) from members fees and/or tickets sales;
details of any netting or equivalent activities that have attempted to estimate the numbers of fish in the loch/ponds;
estimated numbers of fish remaining in waters at the end of the fishing season, where a close season operates;
estimated numbers and size of fish taken by birds per month;
estimated income lost due to fish taken/damaged by birds.
In the case of stocked fisheries include:
species/variety of stocked fish;
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numbers of fish stocked;
size/weight of stocked fish;
purchase cost of stocked fish;
dates of stocking;
method of stocking, e.g. whether trickle or single stocking.
Where wild fish form part or all of the catch include:
an estimate of the total annual catch made up of fish from wild origin;
details of any fish conservation measures.
3.2 Evidence of impact of birds on the fishery will include regular bird counts.
3.3 Bird counts on and in close proximity to the site should take place at least once a day if staff are present on the site on a daily basis. If the site is not manned daily, then counts should take place several times a week. Counts should take place immediately prior to any scaring activities (see section 4.). Counts must be undertaken during those months when you wish to shoot birds, and at the time of year that damage occurs.
3.4 You must complete the form in Annex A. If you are applying for a licence to shoot more than one species, please complete a separate sheet for each species. Use new sheets for each month.
3.5 The number of birds counted is the maximum number of birds that were counted on a single occasion during the day. Do not give the cumulative number of birds seen as a result of several counts in one day.
Non-lethal methods used to deter birds
4. Licences to shoot piscivorous birds are granted only where there is no other satisfactory solution. All applicants must detail the methods that have been used to deter birds from the site, including the lengths of time during which various methods were operating. Bird deterrence at these sites can be achieved by the use of bird scaring devices. A general list of bird scaring devices is included.
4.1 Officials from the Scottish Natural Heritage may visit the site of alleged damage during assessment of an application, in order to verify any information provided on the application form and to discuss, for example, any preventative measures currently employed or used in the past.
5. Licences, if issued, will include a number of stipulations and conditions. These must be adhered to, and can vary from licence to licence. Scottish Natural Heritage has the power to revoke, without prior notice, any licences granted.
6. Under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981:
6.1 failure to comply with the terms of a licence may make the licensee liable to prosecution for an offence; and
6.2 applicants should also note that section 5 of the Act prohibits the use of certain methods of killing or taking wild birds: traps, snares, hocks, nets, bird lime and similar substances, electrical devices, poisonous and stupefying substances, bows and cross-
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bows, explosives other than fire-arm ammunition, shotguns with large diameter barrels, automatic and semi-automatic weapons capable of holding more than 2 rounds in the magazine, illuminating and sighting devices for night shooting, artificial lighting, mirror and other dazzling devices, gas and smoke chemicals, wetting agents, sound recordings, tethered or maimed live birds as decoy and mechanically propelled vehicles in immediate pursuit.
When to apply for a licence
7. Anytime from July onward, bearing in mind that all licence applications must be submitted at least 6 weeks prior to the requested start date of the licence. Failure to adhere to this may result in any decision to grant a licence being delayed.
How to apply for a licence
8. Postal applications for a licence should be completed and sent to:
Scottish Natural Heritage
Great Glen House
Tel: 01463 725364
All applications should be accompanied by a map (of suitable scale), with the boundary of the fishery clearly marked on it.
9. Further information regarding licensing arrangements can be obtained from the above address.
10. SNH will hold your contact details on our Customer Database. All licence application
forms, licences issued and correspondence relating to licensing decisions will be stored in our electronic filing system. We will use this information to undertake licensing functions. To do this we may have to discuss applications with relevant third parties.
We manage personal information in accordance with the Data Protection Act 1998. The Act gives individuals the right to know what data we hold on them, how we use it and to which third parties it is disclosed.
Where appropriate we may use your information within SNH for other purposes for example: sending you our magazine, inviting you to an event or asking for your feedback.
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ANNEX A: BIRD COUNT RECORDING FORM MONTH/YEAR ..…………/………
Name of applicant:
Site named on application form:
Time of count
Number of *……………….. counted
Bird activity (F=fishing; L=loafing)
Notes, e.g. weather conditions at time of count
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