Minister for Environment and Climate Change
Wednesday, 4 February, 2009
MOST RESTRICTED VICTORIAN DUCK SEASON EVER
The shortest, most restricted duck season ever
will be declared for Victoria to ensure that duck
numbers remain sustainable into the future.
Environment and Climate Change Minister Gavin
Jennings today said he had considered advice from
the Department of Sustainability and Environment
(DSE), which advised against a season and the
Government?s Hunting Advisory Committee, which
had proposed a less restricted season.
Mr Jennings said a 49 day season would run from
Saturday March 21 to Friday May 8.
The Minister will seek detailed advice from DSE
regarding the implementation of restrictions
which form part of his announcement today.
?Following a waterfowl count later this month, a
number of key wetlands are likely to be closed
because they will provide refuges for breeding.
These and other restrictions form part of the
safeguards against over-harvesting of duck numbers,? Mr Jennings said.?
To further ensure duck populations are not
adversely affected, recreational shooters will be
restricted to a maximum bag limit of five game
ducks of which at least three must be Wood Duck,
with a total ban on the taking of Blue Wing Shoveller, Pink Ear and Hard Head.
In addition, duck hunters will be subject to a
range of strong penalties up to $2685 for breaching any one of the conditions.
?Recent high rainfall events in Queensland and
New South Wales had increased the likelihood of
breeding events,? Mr Jennings said.
?Aerial counting across the eastern states shows
the Game Duck Index in 2008 has increased by more
than 87 per cent from 2007 and the Wood Duck
Index has increased by more than 84 per cent,? Mr Jennings said.
?The specific bag limit for wood ducks is
partially due to the fact that the species is
subject to Authorities to Control Wildlife ?
permits available to landholders to protect crops and dams.
?Applications to the DSE from farmers to control
wood ducks have increased significantly, almost
doubling since 2005 and increasing by more than
20 per cent compared to the previous year.
?These factors seem to indicate a growing numbers
of wood ducks in Victoria. There will be an
extensive survey of wetlands across the State at
the end of this month to determine which sites
are unsuitable for inclusion in the season.
?Many of our wetlands are already dry and will
not be available for hunting. Other areas will be
identified through the summer waterfowl count as
not being appropriate sites because they contain
significant numbers of fragile species or are breeding refuges.
?DSE will review refuge sites across the region
closer to the commencement of the season to
determine which areas should be closed.
?The timing of the review will ensure that the
conditions of the chosen refuges are suitable for
the protection of waterbirds. These changes are
aimed at protecting waterfowl not only in
Victoria, but across the whole of eastern Australia.
?Wood ducks feed on pasture and are therefore
more likely to be found on farmland than in
wetland systems and all duck hunters must ensure
they seek the permission of land owners before entering private property.?
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