The African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement Technical Committee

AEWA presents a very good opportunity to develop and promote sensible management plans for wildfowl that are important to hunters throughout Europe.  These include both abundant species and those in a less favourable conservation status. Perhaps most importantly we have an opportunity to develop management plans with other stakeholders that cater to our needs and aspirations.

The Technical Committee is the AEWA body that provides scientific and technical advice and information to the Meeting of the Parties and, through the Agreement Secretariat, to the signatory countries of AEWA. It makes recommendations concerning the AEWA Action Plan, implementation of the Agreement and identifies priorities for further research to be carried out.

In the last period there was, from MOP4, an enormous number of restrictive measures for hunting that were discussed. Fortunately most of these were progressively dealt with in a pragmatic manner and no longer present unreasonable requirements or concepts.  Indeed in an initial threat-listing process carried out by Technical Committee Members, unsustainable hunting although listed did not emerge as major threat. Nonetheless, there are a number of hunting related issues that will need to be addressed. From the hunting Community FACE’s Angus Middleton, Jean-Yves Mondain-Monval (French National Hunting & Wildlife Agency, ONCFS), Arto Marjakangas (the International Council for Game & Wildlife Conservation,  CIC), John Harradine (British Association for Shooting and Conservation, BASC) and Patrick Triplet (the OMPO Institute) were present and collaborated well.

Much of the hunting-related work will focus on a complete revision of the AEWA Sustainable Harvest Guideline to reflect the different modes and motivations for hunting. It is essential that hunting be better understood and divided into different forms. This is important because too often any form of killing (including at times poisoning) is simply referred to as hunting. In the case of Europe, recreational hunting is mostly well regulated and in such cases does not pose major threats to waterbirds. A further process will also look into methods to improve knowledge on the harvest of waterbirds in the Agreement Area. The Sustainable Harvest Guideline(s) will also have to deal with specific issues such as look-alike species, provisions for the release of birds and guidance on terms such as “limits on taking”. The latter is of course not simply setting bag limits, as these can be an inappropriate method. Other items including work on lead in ammunition were deemed a lower priority and in fact the work on lead in ammunition will be linked to the work of the CMS Working Group on Poisoning. The important Resolution on Disturbance, which was initially put forward by the French National Federation of Hunters (FNC, FACE Member) will also need to be progressed. Essentially the focus of this is to consider other disturbance factors (mainly recreational activities) and not just hunting.