EU Hunting Directors’ Meeting

The 2nd informal meeting of the EU Hunting Directors took place in Finland during 8-10 October and included representatives from 14 countries, Angus from FACE, the EU Commission’s Andras Demeter (Advisor to the Nature and Biodiversity Director), and a few invited experts as observers. This meeting follows from the first meeting held in Hungary last year and on this occasion focused on two specific issues: large carnivores and flyway management in particular of Anser fabalis fabalis. In both cases the meeting benefited from some excellent background work done by the Finnish Wildlife Management Agency.

The discussion on large carnivores was chaired by Ovidiu Ionescu (Romania) and included presentations on Brown Bear management in Slovenia, wolf and lynx management in Finland and a presentation by the EU Commission. The Commission presentation included an extract from Commissioner Potočnik’s address at the FACE General Assembly and went on to explain their hope in building a dialogue for the sustainable management of large carnivores. In the discussions it was agreed that more needs to be done to ensure sensible management of large carnivores, including transboundary collaboration and a better understanding of the social carrying capacity. In all cases it was recognised that hunters have a central role.

The session on Anser fabalis fabalis was chaired by Jesper Madsen and included a presentation by himself on the Pink Footed Goose Plan and a detailed background presentation on Anser fabalis fabalis by Arto Marjakangas, from the Finnish Wildlife Management Agency (also the CIC representative at the AEWA Technical Committee). The discussions were focused around the need to develop a management plan for the hunting of this particular population. This only concerns those countries where the Anser fabalis fabalis (Taiga bean goose) occur and not those that only have the Anser fabalis (Tundra bean goose). It was agreed that under the coordination of Finland the process will begin without delay to initiate the development of a management plan. This is a very positive step in ensuring that hunters can find solutions to the issues.  In this case it may include moratoria on hunting Anser fabalis fabalis in certain areas, but it will be a decision by the hunting community (authorities and hunting associations) to be reviewed under our conditions, rather than a decision made for us and probably never reviewed. Cy Griffin will contact Members from the countries concerned and ensure that we are well coordinated.

It was decided that future meetings will take place once a year under a voluntary hosting system, in which the previous 2 host countries will undertake to find a new host country and assist them in the preparation. FACE, although only an observer, will also provide assistance, particularly in identifying the suitable authorities. FACE Members are thanked for already assisting in ensuring the correct persons were contacted for these meetings and will of course be notified before the next meeting takes place in 2013.

We consider this to be very useful format which, apart from the relevant content, also allows the possibility for us to represent some specific interests of our Members in a very informal setting.