BASC has praised the Welsh government for listening to those who shoot before making its decision to keep white-fronted geese on the quarry list.
The UK’s largest shooting organisation urged members to respond to a public consultation on European and Greenland white-fronted geese by highlighting that a voluntary moratorium on shooting Greenland white-fronted geese in Wales had proved successful for more than forty years.
Lesley Griffiths, environment and rural affairs secretary, has now announced the continuation of the moratorium being observed by wildfowlers on the Dyfi estuary and elsewhere in Wales and has also agreed to fund additional conservation research.
The minister said there was no evidence that Greenland white-fronted geese are being shot in Wales and accepted BASC’s argument that the geese are best protected by organisations with local knowledge working for their continued conservation.
Dr Conor O’Gorman, BASC policy development manager said: “We thank everyone who took the time to respond to the consultation following BASC’s call to action. Our collective voice was heard by the government, while the protectionists and extremists have yet again failed to polarise shooting and conservation in Wales. The alliance between wildfowlers and bird conservation bodies can now continue to the benefit of Greenland white-fronted geese.”
Duncan Greaves, BASC council member, said: “BASC has enjoyed a long involvement in conservation and legislative protection of migratory birds. We are delighted government has taken on board our recommendations. By working together we can help ensure the geese return to their breeding grounds in Greenland annually in the best possible condition.”
Michael Sherman, vice chairman of the Dyfi, Mawddach and Dysynni Wildfowlers’ Association, where most Greenland white-fronted geese over-winter, said: “Shooting and conservation is deeply intertwined. It is clear that Greenland white-fronted geese are in need of conservation measures as they migrate to and from their wintering grounds in Wales. That is why, for over 40 years, wildfowlers on the Dyfi estuary and elsewhere have been protecting overwintering birds with an effective voluntary moratorium on shooting. We look forward to working with all involved and we are delighted with the new funding for practical research on the ground.”
Tim Russell, BASC’s director of conservation, said: “We are delighted the government has accepted BASC’s evidence that the international action plan for these geese does not require a change in the legal status of white-fronted geese. Poor breeding productivity of white-fronted geese in Greenland needs to be targeted and the government has accepted that to improve the status of white-fronted geese it should continue to invest in research and habitat work to ensure birds return to breeding grounds in Greenland in the best possible condition.”
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