BASC, the UK’s largest shooting organisation with 146 affiliated wildfowling clubs, has welcomed the government’s announcement of new Marine Conservation Zones designed to protect vulnerable species and habitats which are not protected by existing designations. BASC welcomes the fact that its representations to protect wildfowling from the imposition of reference areas, more highly protected zones, have been heard by government.
BASC’s affiliated wildfowling clubs shoot and conserve foreshore around the coast of the UK much of which has the highest international and UK conservation designation. This includes wetlands of international importance under the Ramsar Convention , EU Special Protected Areas (SPA), Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) and Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). Wildfowling is a recreational benefit for local communities and provides wardening of land, monitoring of wildfowl and habitat protection and improvement.
Mark Greenhough, BASC wildfowling officer, said: “I welcome government’s recognition of the value of wildfowling and the fact that no restrictions have been imposed through these new conservation designations. We will continue to work with the government to ensure that no further highly protected sites that exclude wildfowling will be created when the third tranche of MCZ’s is announced. ”
John Dryden, BASC Council member and Chairman of the Association’s Wildfowling Liaison Committee, said: “We await the publication of the report of the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) into the scientific and legal validity of highly protected areas which could exclude activities such as wildfowling. We will continue to ensure that wildfowling is not restricted. Conservation designations must respect local traditional and cultural activities which are a sustainable use of natural resources.”