• Text size      
  • Send this article to a friend
  • Print this article

Concern as number of eiders drops

MYSTERY surrounds a huge drop in the number of eider ducks around Shetland.

The population of the distinctive seabird fell 20% in the three years to 2012, according to figures.

The Shetland Oil Terminal Environment Advisory Group (SOTEAG) found there were 5782 birds around 80% of Shetland's coastline in 2009. A follow-up survey covering 90% of the coast found just 4627 birds in 2012.

Martin Heubeck, of SOTEAG, said the cause was unknown but could involve the local mussel farming industry or killer whales.

He said: "A lot of people would say that duckling predation by skuas and gulls has been severe, but it's been the case for a long time.

"Predator nets have been set at both mussel farms and salmon farms, one mussel farmer actually reported that anti predator nets were drowning eiders, but the scale and the extent of it is really a big question mark."

Contextual targeting label: 
Block list

Commenting & Moderation

We moderate all comments on HeraldScotland on either a pre-moderated or post-moderated basis.
If you're a relatively new user then your comments will be reviewed before publication and if we know you well and trust you then your comments will be subject to moderation only if other users or the moderators believe you've broken the rules

Moderation is undertaken full-time 9am-6pm on weekdays, and on a part-time basis outwith those hours. Please be patient if your posts are not approved instantly.

212352