European Harvest data reported under the Birds Directive: A first overview

The collection of harvest (or bag) data plays a significant role in understanding wild game populations and providing a basis for management decisions, e.g., used as an index for population densities or to assess the impact and sustainability of hunting. While there are long-term records of hunting bag statistics in Europe, the methodologies for data collection vary between countries.

In order to centralise harvest data at the European level, the last reporting exercise under the Birds Directive (Article 12) required Member States, for the first time, to report on national harvest for the period 2013-2018. As yet no comprehensive analysis has been produced so the content of this large dataset has remains largely unknown.

Therefore, a short summary analysis of this first round of common reporting on bag data from the Member States is a necessity to provide more clarity on the quality and gaps of the Article 12 bag data set.

  • For the first time, FACE carefully assessed the harvest dataset reported by Member States under the Birds Directive for the period 2013-2018.
  • Many Member States provided good data based on complete surveys.
  • The greatest weaknesses are the reporting of incomplete data, the reporting of data which is not separated at the species level (e.g., “ducks”), or the absence of data reported for two Member States.
  • This first EU data set on harvest data has remained largely unused, apart from some single species action plans (e.g., Turtle dove, and work on geese) but with its weaknesses acknowledged, it can serve as a valuable basis to produce better estimates where required.
  • FACE urges Member States to take these insights into account to improve the reporting of harvest data for the next reporting in 2025.

The report highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the EU bag data set and provides FACE’s recommendations regarding its use and the improvement of the reporting for the next cycle.

◉ Download full document “Harvest data reported under the Birds Directive”

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