14 Jul 2021 FACE information Webinar: “The Future for the Turtle Dove in Europe”
Brussels, 14 July 2021 – Today, hunting and conservation experts as well as Members of the European Parliament met online to discuss “The Future for the Turtle Dove in Europe: Perspectives on Hunting and Conservation” in the framework of an information webinar organised by the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FACE). The purpose was to explain the state of play and next steps regarding the hunting and conservation of Turtle Dove in Europe to hunters and decision-makers.
This timely webinar follows on from the large interest expressed in the Turtle Dove Adaptive Harvest Management workshops organised by the European Commission, putting the species under the spotlight regarding conservation measures and hunting regulations.
During the webinar, Professor Gregorio Rocha from the University of Extremadura provided updates on the conservation needs of the species, the work done by the hunting community and the negative consequences of stopping hunting. There were updates by Cy Griffin, FACE Senior Conservation Manager on the state of play with the Adaptive Harvest Management process with an overview of the expected scenarios.
For the countries in the central and eastern flyway, it is clear that there will be a 50% reduction in harvest, and this will require considerable work. Governments have already committed to this including with new systems to record harvest and to support research. In this context, Tristan Breijer, Director of Strategic Partnerships, Hunter&Co., which is Europe’s largest application for hunters explained the added value of smart phone applications for harvest recording, monitoring and research.
Of course, there was wide frustration expressed at the situation in the western flyway, mainly because Turtle Dove population recovery is possible, with a limited harvest and hunters are willing to accept this, coupled with the fact that the option for a residual harvest was not fully explored.
FACE President Torbjörn Larsson, stated that: “It is very unfortunate that instead of reducing the harvest and helping Member States in the western flyway, there is strong push for zero harvest from the European Commission combined with infringements cases against France and Spain. There have been additional threats of infringement action against other Member States in the western flyway, which makes Adaptive Harvest Management decision-making impossible”.
Furthermore, several MEPs from different political groups – Álvaro Amaro (EPP, Portugal), Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, Malta), Isabel Benjumea-Benjumea (EPP, Spain), Juan Ignacio Zoido (EPP, Spain), Josianne Cutajar (S&D, Malta) – stressed the need for a well-balanced equilibrium between hunting and conservation, rather than the closing of the hunting altogether, which would result in the loss of huge yearly conservation measures and investments. Decisions are now being made by Member States regarding national hunting of the species.
Referring to his open letter, which was co-signed by together MEPs, Mr. Álvaro Amaro, President of the “Biodiversity, Hunting, Countryside” Intergroup, expressed “disappointment at the pre-emptive and intransigent position taken by the European Commission to introduce a moratorium on the hunting of the species, even though this was rejected by the 10 countries that permit their hunting”. He also highlighted disappointment with the infringement taken by the European Commission against France and Spain, which are not failing to conserve the species in comparison to several other Member States.
When opening the floor for other interventions, several representatives from FACE Members (Europe’s national hunting organisations) took the chance to express their views on the current situation at national level. They highlighted the support and strong involvement from local communities in the conservation of the species. However, some also expressed the disappointment resulting from the lack of recognition they face.
To get full insights of the state of play and learn about the hunters’ perspectives and role in Turtle Dove conservation, see the video-recording here.