Scottish Government
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Temporary halt to wildfowling introduced

Shooting certain species of wildfowl is being suspended by Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham.

Species such as ducks, geese and shore waders are unable to feed in the current freezing conditions, threatening the birds' natural survival.

The suspension, brought into force under Section 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, prohibits the shooting of birds from December 10, 2010. It will last for 14 days but will be reviewed after seven days.

Birds covered by the order include: coot, tufted duck, gadwall, goldeneye, Canada geese, greylag and pink-footed goose, mallard, moorhen, pintail, golden plover, pochard, shoveler, common snipe, teal, wigeon and woodcock.

Background

Wildfowling is the practice of shooting ducks, geese, or other waterfowl for sport or food.

The Scottish Ministers have been advised by Scottish Natural Heritage (SNH), their statutory advisers on nature conservation matters, that the present severe weather is having an adverse effect on all wild birds and, in particular, on birds such as ducks and geese and shore waders which cannot feed because of the frozen conditions. Scottish Natural Heritage, on behalf of the Joint Nature Conservation Committee has recommended that there should be a temporary halt on wildfowling until the severe weather ends.

In light of SNH's advice, the Scottish Ministers have approved the making of an Order under Section 2 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to prohibit the shooting of species including: coot, tufted duck, gadwall, goldeneye, Canada, greylag and pink-footed goose, mallard, moorhen, pintail, golden plover, pochard, shoveler, common snipe, teal, wigeon and woodcock.

The Order was made today and will have effect from 0.01am on Friday, 10 December, until 11.59pm on 23 December. The British Association for Shooting and Conservation have been consulted about the making of the Order, the need for which will be reviewed after it has run for not more than seven days.

The criteria and arrangements for shooting bans in severe weather were drawn up in 1982 by a working group set up by the former Nature Conservancy Council, which included shooting, conservation and scientific interests. Their report, which was accepted by the Government, called for the decision on an Order banning shooting to be made after 13 days of continuing frost as recorded by more than half of a particular selection of meteorological stations and for the ban to come into effect on the 15th day. Severe weather bans apply to all birds listed on Schedule 2 Part I to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.