Rare ducks will go “quackers” for their new nests

Redundant fish farm pens have been given a new lease of life as breeding rafts for rare scoter ducks in the northern Highlands of Scotland.

The pens were donated by Marine Harvest Scotland and were turned into two durable nesting rafts by industry equipment supplier Fusion Marine.

Common scoter ducks are on the Red List as a bird of high conservation concern with only an estimated 50 breeding pairs in the UK.

It is hoped these new nests will provide safe breeding sites for this scarce and declining duck species and enable researchers to monitor scoter breeding behaviour to increase their knowledge about the breed to help with conservation efforts.

Scott Landsburgh, chief executive officer for Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisations said:

“This is another example of how the industry is partnering with other organisations to assist local communities in maintaining the natural landscape. It’s also a terrific use of redundant equipment and I hope the experiment will offer insight into the common scoter and aid its survival in northern Scotland.”

The project consortium is made up of the Forestry Commission Scotland, Scottish Natural Heritage, Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, Scottish and Southern Energy, Blue Energy, the Ness & Beauly Fisheries Trust, the RSPB and Marine Harvest.