COUNCILLORS have today agreed that mediation should be the next step after the voluntary permit scheme for wildfowlers in Findhorn Bay failed to secure universal support.
In a report to the full Moray Council it emerged that only 23 permits were applied for in the 2017/18 season, out of an estimated 100 local wildfowlers.
An external mediator will now be brought in and, if successful, this will be a precursor to a further voluntary permit scheme.
It’s estimated that mediation could cost in the region of £15,000, and councillors were told that Scottish Natural Heritage have pledged their support in cash terms and in the provision of mediation service.
Forres councillor, George Alexander, moved a motion that mediation should be progressed, with the unanimous backing of all councillors.
He said: “I would encourage all stakeholders to attend the meetings and discuss options with an open mind. There must be some sort of compromise.”
Convener of Moray Council, Cllr James Allan, added: “I’m disappointed at the poor uptake of voluntary permits at Findhorn this season. It’s clear that the current situation is unsustainable, and I hope that mediation allows all parties to come together to achieve a resolution.”
Options under consideration included the introduction of a by-law, which would cost an estimated £35k, in addition to the cost to police of enforcement and a further £35k in regular review costs.
Moray Council has already banned shooting on a section of the Findhorn Bay area in council ownership.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live. Nestling between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands, Moray stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Brodie Castle in the west.