BASC will strongly object to any further restrictions being placed on wildfowling on a Devon estuary.

In its response to a public consultation on a review of zonation and codes of conduct on the Exe Estuary, BASC says it would strongly object to any further restrictions being placed on wildfowling on the Exe as it is already a well-regulated activity carried out responsibly.

BASC recommends that proposed Voluntary Exclusion Zones (VEZs) on the Exe estuary target unregulated activities in the estuary.

Mark Greenhough, BASC’s wildfowling officer, said: “Wildfowling within the proposed VEZ at Exmouth is subject to a management plan and is a sustainable activity that is consented by Natural England.

“There is a growing evidence base to indicate that wildfowling, contrary to misconceptions, causes less disturbance to wild birds than other activities such as walking.”

A site specific study was conducted in 2011 on the Exe and no disturbance to wild birds from wildfowling was recorded.

A groundbreaking study part-funded by BASC, revealed that walking causes 100 times more disturbance than wildfowling.

The evidence was the result of part of a three-year PhD study looking at the effects of recreational disturbance on waterfowl and waders.

Additional evidence in the study, carried out by Catherine Collop from Bournemouth University, shows that wildfowling accounted for just 0.04 per cent of the disturbance activities on Poole Harbour. The impact was deemed so low that research predicted that there would be no impact on the survival of birds even if it was increased by 25 times.


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