September 25, 2008

Beaver Introduction to Scotland Raises Concern

The Association of Salmon Fishery Boards have petitioned the Scottish environment minister Mike Russell to stop the government from going through with a planned introduction of the European beaver.

It would be "recklessly irresponsible" to approve new schemes before looking at the impact on fish, the association said.

The government already cleared the way for up to four beaver families to be captured in Norway this fall, and released in Argyl next year.

It will be the first time in more than 400 years that there have been beaver families in Scotland.

In a new letter, chairman Hugh Campbell Adamson referred to a previous letter written in March, saying the original points raised had not been "addressed or satisfied".

"It is vital to assess impacts on fish, to ensure that a modeling exercise is undertaken to identify the typical areas in Scotland where beaver-built dams are predicted," Adamson said.

"This must be undertaken before any consideration is given to expanding the concept of the existing trial to other areas."

However, Environment Minister Mike Russell said the introduction would go as planned, but on a trial basis.

"The European beaver will return to Knapdale in Argyll next spring on a trial basis, which is an exciting development for wildlife enthusiasts all over Scotland and beyond," Russell said.

"The Association of Salmon Fisheries Boards are among a number of interested stakeholders who the project may impact upon, and I will of course be happy to discuss these issues with the ASFB and to ensure they are involved as the trial goes ahead."

"The impact of the beavers on Knapdale, as well as how the animals have adapted, will be closely scrutinised before any further reintroduction takes place."

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