BOCA and Birds Australia have jointly released the following statement.
*DUCK SEASON? NO WAY SAY BIRD GROUPS
National bird conservation organisations call on the Brumby Government to
re-think its irresponsible decision to allow a duck hunting season in 2009.
In a joint statement the CEO of Birds Australia, Graeme Hamilton and the CEO
of Bird Conservation and Observation Australia, Richard Hunter, expressed
their dismay and bafflement at what appears to be a decision based on
political pressure by shooters rather than hard evidence of a recovery in
Duck numbers in eastern Australia are critically low as a result of 12 years
of drought. A national aerial survey of wetlands by Professor Richard
Kingsford last spring showed only limited recovery in some river systems
despite better seasonal conditions in parts of Queensland and northern NSW.
Most importantly, numbers of ducks in Victoria are low and only limited
breeding was seen.
The Bird Organisation CEOs say: There is simply no way Minister Jennings can
justify allowing a duck hunting season in 2009 when the season was cancelled
in 2007 and 2008 because duck numbers were considered to be too low. Across
Victoria and southern NSW duck populations are still dangerously low. Where
are the ducks Minister?
"We would like to see the monitoring methods and the data on which this
decision has been based. Any apparent increase in duck numbers is likely to
be a localised event where ducks are congregating in the few wetlands that
are in good condition. These few remaining ducks are the breeding stock for
a future recovery in numbers. By allowing these birds to be shot the
Minister is allowing the States ecological capital assets to be liquidated.
The CEOs said.
We are concerned that, in the absence of clear evidence that duck numbers
have recovered, the Minister (Premier) is simply bowing to pressure from the
shooters who are frustrated at not being allowed to pursue their hobby for
the past two seasons.
We call on the Premier to show some leadership and courage and to reverse
the decision to allow a duck hunting season before the first duck is lost,
the CEOs said
Any wetlands still supporting ducks at this critical time should be treated
as refuges for ducks, not shooting ranges.
Contacts for further information:
Birds Australia: Chris Tzaros, Ph 03 9347 0757 or 0409 235 263
BOCA: Don Saunders Ph 03 9877 5342 (office) or 03 98441076 (A.H.)
2009/2/4 James O'Connor <>
> Media release
> From the 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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