Wildfowling Liaison Committee Minutes

BRITISH ASSOCIATION FOR SHOOTING AND CONSERVATION

Wildfowling Liaison Committee

Meeting held on Tuesday 26 November 2019

At BASC Head Quarters, Marford Mill, Rossett, Wrexham, LL12 0HL

Starting at 10.30 a.m.

Minutes

Attendance:  

  • Alasdair Mitchell – Chairman of WLC – AM
  • James Green – BASC Head of Wildfowling/ Secretary – JG
  • Jo Hughes – BASC Wildfowling Administrator – JH
  • Liz Ridgway – BASC Wildfowling Administrator(temp)Minutes Secretary LR
  • Shane Robinson – BASC Wildfowling Officer – SR
  • Ian Coghill – IC
  • Jon-Paul Humberstone – JPH
  • Mat Holloway – MH
  • Grant Evans – GE
  • Brian Johnson – BJ
  • Glynn Cook – GC
  • Peter Catling – PC
  • Paul Culley – PCu
  • Peter Nichols – PN
  • George Downing – GD
  • Graham Downing – GrD
  • Richard Playle – RP
  • Terry Neill – (TN)
  1. Apologies

Roy Hodsdon, Allan MacDonald, Allen Musselwhite, Robin Marshall-Ball, Robin Owen, William Wykes, Craig Jenkinson, Mike Sherman

  1. Declaration of interests

The following members of the committee declared an interest in:

None

  1. Minutes of the last meeting

The minutes of the 8th February 2019 were approved and signed as a true record.

  1. Matters arising

AP1: JG – the Crown Foreshore lease template was raised at the July JTG meeting and the Crown Estate were going to raise it with their legal team. We will know if this change has happened when we meet again in early 2020.

AP2 Agenda Item 6: ALL – agreed that members of the WLC were happy to share their email addresses within the WLC membership. No email addresses will be made public.

AP3 Agenda Item 7: JG – There isn’t a member from the JNCC on the JTG, the JTG is a group set up and chaired by the Crown Estate.

The JTG does have representation from all three government conservation agencies, NE, NRW and NIEA.  However its remit is solely to consider sporting rights on Crown Estate foreshore.  The JTG’s role is not to set a precedent for sites other than Crown Estate foreshore.

AP4 Agenda Item 9: Legal Clarification has been sought pertaining to mean high water mark of ordinary spring tide

AP5 Agenda Item 9: AM – confirmed a commendation was made at BASC council.

AP6 Agenda Item 10: JG – BASC council have supported the requirement for further work to be undertaken.

A paper was sent by Matt Ellis to BASC council detailing the concept of AHM, this paper was circulated to the WLC. The following comments were made: –

JG confirmed that there will be further feedback to WLC following findings from Matts work in America after his return.

Matt Ellis is currently in Illinois working alongside their hunting bodies to assist with research that will ultimately help us to understand the pros and cons of such a system.

A trial proposal is required.

An AHM system would give us increased security by confirming our actions are sustainable, however it does raise problems over land where data is lacking.

It is worth touching on Pochard here, AWEA have sent a letter to all member states requesting the immediate cease to any hunting of the species as dictated in their guidance, however this is not supported in the IUCN (International Union for the conservation of Nature) guidance, even though the conservation status for Pochard is the same as that of the Giant Panda.

As we see it, Pochard offer us a free hit to trial a system, adapt and keep some form of Pochard shooting or don’t and lose it.

AP7 Agenda Item 12: It was agreed that SR will utilize his time offering guidance to clubs to ensure that they manage their own online bag returns rather than charging clubs.

AP8: JG – It is not for us to dictate however the recommendation has been made.

IC – The work on disturbance needs to be done together with a literary review so that the we know and have the facts to say that wildfowling is not causing a disturbance.

Action Point 1: JG to clarify that PhD student will include a literary review in her study and that it will be published.

Addition to minutes of 08/02/2019: – Clarification of the line management from BASC Chief Executive to the Wildfowling Department

  • Ian Bell – CEO
  • Steve Bloomfield – Executive Director of Shooting & Operations.
  • Paul Williamson – Head of Land Management. –manages the strategic output of Gamekeeping, Deer and Wildfowling
  • James Green – Head of Wildfowling
  • Shane Robinson – Wildfowling Officer
  • Jo Hughes – Wildfowling Administrator
  • Dennise Shepherd – Wildfowling consenting advisor
  • Liz Ridgway – Temp covering sickness.
  1. Scotland wildfowling update

JG reported on behalf of Colin Shedden.

“The general situation is that native greylags continue to increase throughout Scotland and migratory pink-footed geese arrived remarkably early this year.  Duck numbers appear to be good in most locations.

The National Goose Management Review Group has rebranded itself as the National Goose Forum.  (I did remind Scottish Government that this is what it was called in 1999 – nobody remembered.). The main change is that representatives from all of the local goose groups are now invited to participate.  The next meeting is in January and BASC remains the only shooting organisation involved.  RSPB and WWT have re-joined the Forum after leaving due to concerns about barnacle goose culling.

On Findhorn Bay, as we all know, negotiations over wildfowling permits broke down in May and in June Moray Council declared that they were not investing any more time or money in seeking resolution.  So far there have been a few incidents of harassment by antis but numbers of visiting wildfowlers appear to have fallen.  I will be attending a meeting of the LNR Management Committee in early December.

Scottish Solway and Caerlaverock clubs feel that some of those who had shot Findhorn may now be shooting the Solway.  There have been issues with visiting wildfowlers not respecting the voluntary permit scheme run by the Solway club at Priestside.  SNH are currently reviewing the byelaws at Caerlaverock and we have met with the club and liaised with SNH.

There are ongoing discussions with the Montrose club re. night shooting.

Donald Muir retires at the end of this year and we are ensuring that there is a handover (within Scottish staff) over responsibility for representation at all management committees.

Finally, we reached a five day countdown towards a severe weather suspension in November, as we did last year.  This was reset on the 17th November after three days of thaw.”

  1. Northern Ireland update

JG welcomed Terry Neill from Lough Foyle Wildfowlers as a new member of the WLC.

Terry Neill said that there were no current issues to report relating to wildfowling. However, the introduction of online only shotgun certificate applications and renewals by the PSNI is causing problems with long delays being reported.

  1. Wales update

NRW leases / policies

NRW had changed its procedure for processing lease renewals. The new system requires sign off from senior NRW members of staff instead of being signed off at a local level as before. Communication over the issue has been poor, the most concerning addition to this was the statement that Senior NRW staff will all be questioning if the activity taking place is Novel, Contentious or has the potential for Risk. NRW couldn’t put figures against the level at which something could become contentious, Steve Griffiths will continue to work with NRW to seek further clarification on this.

  1. Wildfowling department update

NE 2019 consenting review

Report given by JG.

BASC assisted clubs to obtain 12 consents and renew six leases in England

5 – 10 year

2 – 8 year

3 – 5 year

2 – 1 year

1 – Indefinite

A process has been put in place to ensure that NE East Midland do not delay in issuing consents.

General license – implications to wildfowling

SR gave an update on the changes and implications and an explanation of when consents and, or, individual licenses are required. Due to the complexities it was agreed to create a flowchart diagram explaining the requirements.

ACTION POINT 2 – SR to create a flowchart explaining general licences and what is required.

  1. Inland duck shooting – BASC position – JG, AM

In a bid to be proactive BASC would like to review the position on inland flight ponds.

Points to consider:

The actual impact of increased commercial activity: – it feels like there has been an increase in the volume of commercial flight pond shooting. It is a cheap and easy form of shooting with little investment required. Wildfowling has been quoted at European level as having no impact on the population at a flyway level, can this be stated once we venture behind the seawall?

Adaptive Harvest Management – if we do end up with some form of adaptive harvest management in the future there could be a limit based on species.

Any future quotas for AHM would be based on an understanding of the status quo –

Better bag data will be essential to ensure the best possible outcome is achieved.

ACTION POINT 3: Following discussions ALL agreed that BASC should create educational guidance for inland duck shooting to be reviewed and approved by the WLC. Duck nest tubes and habitat management will be included. This will not take place until 2020.

  1. Any other business
  • The role/assistance of BASC in educating members of the public – JPH

JPH briefed the committee about the new coastal path running alongside their ground and requested information boards which could be erected along the path to educate the public about wildfowling.

JG explained that a precedent has already been set for this in Lindisfarne which uses information boards subsidised by Natural England. It was agreed that a template should be created that could be utilised by all clubs which would include a QR code where further information could be relayed to the general public.

ACTION POINT 4: BASC to create a template and have ready for clubs to produce and erect by August 2020

  • BASC Online bag returns – GE

GE explained the problems that have arisen due to not being able to delete old maps from the online bag return system.

As permitted areas for shooting do change then there should be a functionality of the system to delete old maps.

End of Meeting AM thanked all for their attendance and participation.

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