A study of two fish-eating bird species – Great Cormorant and Goosander – is being undertaken along the River Tweed in the Scottish Borders, following a drop in the number of salmon in the waterway. Individuals of both species will be killed so that they can be studied, with researchers hoping to understand exactly what they eat and how they affect fish stocks. The RSPB was not informed of the cull, which the organisation hasn't approved. The study has been licensed by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH) and will be undertaken by the River Tweed Commission.
The Tweed is one of four major rivers undergoing a study of what types of fish Great Cormorants and Goosanders eat at different times of the year. Fishing on the Tweed is estimated to contribute approximately £24 million each year to the local economy, and the two species in question have been targeted by parts of the angling fraternity in recent years, with The Angling Trust last year publicly urging fisheries and fishing clubs to submit more applications for licences to cull Goosander and Great Cormorant across Britain.