A petition against wildfowling in Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve was rejected by Moray Council today.
However the future of wildfowling at Findhorn remains uncertain and it is now up to interested parties to work together to reach an agreement which could be considered by the council in the future.
The council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee recognised “the extensive time and resources applied over the past three years to attempt to resolve this issue without success” and agreed “that further resources cannot be allocated to this issue in the current financial climate as doing so would divert these from corporate priorities.”
While the petition was rejected, along with further funding, the Committee said it would welcome all parties coming back to them with a unanimously supported voluntary agreement on the management of wildfowling in the future.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC Scotland director, said: “We appreciate the frustration that was felt by Councillors today but remain committed to working with all parties to reach agreement over the sustainable and long-term future for wildfowling at Findhorn.
“Over the past three years we have worked hard to reach an agreed position that would be acceptable to local and visiting wildfowlers as well as local residents and were close to moving forward with “community engagement” in the spring.
“We will continue this work through the Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve Management Committee, of which we are a member.
“We would also advise anyone planning to shoot on Findhorn Bay this season to abide by BASC’s Wildfowling Code of Practice and the voluntary restrictions that have been put forward by our affiliated club, Forres, Nairn and District Wildfowlers, and supported by other wildfowlers.”
Chair of Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Committee, Councillor Graham Leadbitter, said that time and effort from council staff and external bodies had gone in to try and find a resolution.
He said: “There’s a limit to how long we can continue to support that process and still deliver other council priorities. As such, this morning councillors rejected the petition as we can’t dedicate any more resources to this.
“Notwithstanding this, we accept that the groups involved may continue with the process and reach a decision, agreed by all parties. If this happens, this decision could be considered by Council in the future.”
This year’s wildfowling season at Findhorn Bay began at the start of the month and will continue until February 20 2020.
Voluntary rules include an established no-shooting zone in the north of the basin near the village and two zones on the east side to restrict times and amount of shots permitted.
The Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve has also issued advice to other people visiting the bay to avoid certain times and to keep pets on leads to avoid conflict with wildfowlers.