Tasmanian Times


‘‘Catastrophic’ decreases of Tassie ducks ahead of annual shoot’

*Pic: Last year’s protest … Comment 7: … ‘Photographer, Michelle Powell, who so generously lent her time and talents to document the event’ …

Analyses by BirdLife Tasmania of DPIPWE waterfowl counts at Moulting Lagoon have identified ‘catastrophic’ decreases in four of the waterfowl species that can be shot legally in Tasmania. The four species investigated were Mountain Duck, Black Duck, and Chestnut and Grey Teals. A fifth species that can be shot in Tasmania (Wood Duck) is rarely recorded at Moulting Lagoon, and was excluded from analyses.

BirdLife Tasmania examined the data for 15 years – between 2001 and 2015 inclusive, and calculated the difference between peak counts for each species and current counts.

“The differences between maxima and current counts varied from decreases of 62% (Mountain Duck) to 97% (Grey Teal)” Dr Eric Woehler, BirdLife Tasmania Convenor said today.

“Black Duck (-71%) and Chestnut Teal (-81%) also showed catastrophic decreases,” Dr Woehler added.

“The Tasmanian Government acknowledges that Tasmania acts as a refuge for mainland waterfowl, noting that waterfowl cross Bass Strait and shelter in Tasmania’s wetlands until mainland conditions improve for them, yet they allow these birds to be shot,” Dr Woehler noted.

The 2017 take of 58,000 ducks was 27% higher than in 2016, with almost 1200 shooters reporting an average of 50 ducks each. “In light of the recent reports on duck mismanagement in Victoria, where the State Government is unable to enforce hunting restrictions, BirdLife Tasmania believes a similar situation exists in Tasmania. Almost certainly, the real take is higher than that reported to authorities” Dr Woehler said.

“Following a Right to Information request from BirdLife Tasmania, the Tasmanian Government was forced to admit that only 1 prosecution and 1 infringement notice had been issued in the past 6 years, with annual numbers of shooters typically around 1000,” Dr Woehler said.

“It beggars belief that no non-target species have been shot, and it’s an indication of how passively the Tasmanian duck hunt is currently managed by the Government when all they can say is that, ‘none reported’” Dr Woehler added.

“The Tasmanian Government is taking a ‘hands-off’ approach to waterfowl management in Tasmania”.

“Shooting species whose populations have decreased between 62% and 97% can not be described as “sustainable”, no matter how much political spin is attached,” Dr Woehler added.

“Stopping this unsustainable and indefensible ‘sport’ in Tasmania is long overdue, and the Tasmanian Government must act immediately to protect our waterfowl rather than giving hunters free rein.” Dr Woehler concluded.

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  1. Russell

    March 16, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Re #9 … I stand corrected Andrew.

  2. Andrew Ricketts

    March 13, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    The most damaging animal on the planet is undoubtedly Homo sapiens.

  3. Robert LePage

    March 13, 2018 at 7:20 pm

    Lets face it, in this day and age no one is starving and in need of food. The only excuse these so called “hunters” have is to work off their need to kill things.
    Maybe they should join the army and go to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban.
    They might get a shock though, they shoot back.

  4. Yvette

    March 13, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Firstly, I’m delighted to see the Duck Lake Project image used with the article, but please do the right thing and credit the photographer, Michelle Powell, who so generously lent her time and talents to document the event.

    Secondly, I was there again this season, and there were so few waterbirds of any kind at Moulting Lagoon. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen the lagoon so low, and so few birds. It didn’t stop the shooters trying to shoot the few birds there.

    This year the shooters were doing their absolute best to provoke the activists with the aim of putting a complaint in. For example, ones of the hunters whose hide I was standing near insisted on coming out and plucking the duck he had shot in front of me.

    Facebook posts by one of the main provocateurs make it clear that they are wanting hunter protection legislation, as they have in Victoria.

    We will continue to do what we can to stop ducks from being shot at Moulting Lagoon and to draw attention to the harm that the shooters are doing to waterfowl both as individuals and as species.

  5. Russell

    March 12, 2018 at 1:34 pm

    Re #4
    Wrong Robert. Feral cats do more environmental damage than any other animal.

    If you love cats, that’s your choice, but neuter them and keep them at home and fed well.

  6. Nicole Anderson

    March 12, 2018 at 10:20 am

    Bad call Robert LePage #4. People who shoot feral cats may well assist in reducing the awful toll these beautiful but destructive cats have on native species .. likely including our ducks. Ever witnessed a bandicoot or Possum with toxoplasmosis? Undeniably cruel, thanks to the cats and the humans that let them be.

  7. Robert LePage

    March 11, 2018 at 4:24 pm

    #1 … “Why don’t those 1,000 shooters do something useful with their time, like shooting feral cats?”

    Or rather why don’t they go out and shoot the people who want to shoot cats?

  8. Ted Mead

    March 11, 2018 at 11:00 am

    Appalling !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. john hayward

    March 11, 2018 at 12:02 am

    The same DPIPWE experts who are giving the go-ahead for shooting our remnant duck populations are also sending captive-raised devils back to a horrible death in DFTD areas.

    Why don’t we cut to the chase, scrap our putative regulators, and put their funding straight in the pork barrel?

    John Hayward

  10. Doug Nichols

    March 10, 2018 at 6:03 pm

    Of course shooting ducks should be banned. This drawing of a blind eye by the government is a disgrace.

    Why don’t those 1,000 shooters do something useful with their time, like shooting feral cats?

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