Legal suspensions of the shooting of waterfowl in Northern Ireland and Scotland which were put in place because of the severe winter weather have been extended.
The Northern Ireland Environment Minister Edwin Poots has approved a second statutory suspension in relation to the shooting of ducks, geese and waders until 23.59pm on Wednesday 5th January. The suspension will be reviewed after seven days and could be lifted if the weather improves.
The current suspension of the shooting of ducks, geese and waders in Scotland is also to be extended. The suspension, which covers ducks including reared mallard, geese, woodcock, snipe and golden plover, will last until 23.59pm on 6th January but will be reviewed after seven days and could be lifted if there is an improvement in conditions.
Dr Colin Shedden, BASC’s Scotland director, said: “This is the first time in Scotland that two statutory suspension orders have run consecutively, indicating the severity of the current weather conditions. The legal suspension of the shooting of wildfowl and wading birds offers extra protection when an extended period of severe weather is likely to disrupt the birds’ feeding and roosting patterns.”
Tommy Mayne, BASC’s Northern Ireland director, said: “Everyone who shoots respects their quarry. All individuals, clubs and syndicates must observe the suspension. We would also call on members not to shoot woodcock or snipe during the suspension. For technical reasons the birds are not covered but are still vulnerable to the severe conditions.”
In England and Wales, the UK’s largest shooting organisation, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC), has called for shooters to exercise voluntary restraint in relation to the shooting of ducks, geese and waders wherever local conditions require it.
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The suspension under the Wildlife (Northern Ireland) order 1985 prohibits the shooting of any of the following quarry species, whether on the coast or inland:
Duck: Mallard (including reared mallard), teal, wigeon, pintail, tufted duck, pochard, shoveler, gadwall, goldeneye, scaup.
Geese: Greylag, pink-footed, Canada
Waders: Golden plover.
When a protection order is signed, it becomes an offence to kill or take any of the following species in Scotland, whether on the coast or inland:
Ducks: mallard, teal, wigeon, pintail, tufted duck, pochard, shoveler, gadwall, goldeneye.
Geese: greylag, pink-footed, Canada. Waders: golden plover, woodcock, snipe.
Others: moorhen and coot.
Game birds are not affected, but reared duck are included.