HC Deb 10 July 1985 vol 82 c452W
Mr. Kilroy-Silk

asked the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will list the numbers of (a) goosanders, (b) red-breasted margansers and (c) cormorants killed under licence in the last year for which complete figures are available and express this number as a percentage of the Scottish population of each species, giving the date when the population estimate was made.

Mr. John Mackay

The last year for which complete figures are available is 1984, when numbers of birds killed in Scotland under licence were reported as follows:

(a) Goosanders 514
(b) Red-breasted mergansers 516
(c) Cormorants 886

There are no population estimates providing reliable figures for these species more recent than those arising from surveys conducted in the period 1969–1977. Information for this period supplied by the Nature Conservancy Council is as follows:

  1. (a) Goosanders:
    • Estimated pairs 736/952 (Scotland) — 1977 (Meek and Little)
  2. (b) Red-breasted mergansers:
    • Estimated pairs 1–2,000 (Brivain)— 1970 (Atkinson-Wills)
    • Estimated pairs 2–3,000 (Britain and Ireland) — 1976 (Sharrock)
  3. (c) Cormorants
    • Estimated breeding pairs 3,671 (Scotland) — 1969–70 (NCC)

The most recent of these surveys, that in 1977 of goosanders indicated that the species was expanding its range and that a number of local estimates of population were conservative.