Please help stop Scottish fishermens’ cruel “Guga hunt”
Advocates for Animals
18th August 2003
Each year, around August, approximately 10 fishermen from the Island of Lewis in the Scottish Outer Hebrides sail from the Port of Ness to the Island of Sula Sgeir on a 'guga hunt'. Gugas are baby gannets.
The “guga hunt” involves the fishermen plucking about 2,000 baby gannets from the cliff faces using poles of up to 10 feet long with a sprung metal jaw on the end. The chicks are then clubbed to death before being decapitated.
Chicks that are too small to “harvest” or to fly to escape, panic, and fall down the cliffs to their deaths, whilst their frantic parents fly overhead. The birds that are caught and killed are sold in the Port of Ness as a delicacy.
The Guga Hunt is often justified on the grounds of “culture” and “tradition” - it appears to have been going on regularly since at least the 14th century. We are all for preserving culture and traditions, but not when they involve cruelty to animals.
The EU Conservation of Wild Birds Directive (79/409/EEC) protects gannets within the EU. However, the UK's Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 gives the hunting and killing of gannets on the island of Sula Sgeir special derogation under the EU Directive. This “guga hunt” is carried out under licence from the Scottish Executive.
Advocates for Animals believes that this mass slaughter has no place in a modern civilised country and that the gannet chicks on Sula Sgeir should be afforded the same legal protection as other gannet chicks in the rest of Scotland.