Mousa next island closed to public due to bird flu

Mousa has been closed to the public for the remainder of the 2022 season in response to ongoing bird flu concerns.

The Mousa Boat will stop running tours to the island from today (Saturday), with Historic Environment Scotland closing the famous Iron Age broch on the island until at least mid-October.

NatureScot has advised the public to stop visiting Mousa to give seabirds @the best possible chance to survive”.

Noss, Ramna Stacks and Gruney are already closed, with the public advised to stay well away from birds at Hermaness.

NatureScot said the risk of people moving around Mousa, and inside the broch, was “too great” to keep it open.

Its deputy director of nature, Eileen Stuart, said it was “not an easy decision” to close access to Mousa, but added: “We are increasingly concerned about the terrible effect avian flu is having in Shetland’s seabird colonies.

“Together with the Scottish government and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, we have looked at biosecurity measures to allow the broch to remain open to the public while the storm petrels are nesting.

“However, the logistics of getting enough clean water out to the broch and ensuring that visitors can clean and disinfect their footwear adequately has proved too challenging for this season.”

RSPB Scotland’s Shetland manager Helen Moncrieff said they “greatly appreciate the decision” to stop running the Mousa Boat this season.

“The impact avian influenza is having on tour operators is incredibly tough, particularly after the last few years.

“We are grateful for the sacrifices that The Mousa Boat company, and other tour operators elsewhere in Scotland, are making to help limit the spread.”

NatureScot said it would review the measures in March 2023.


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