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42 Days to Native Waterbird Shooting

DID YOU KNOW moratoriums have been held on duck shooting in Victoria in 2003, 2007 and 2008, due to drought and low native waterbird numbers?

Science strongly suggests this year should be a moratorium too.

The red dots and red line below, show the indices of abundance, wetlands, breeding species and breeding in those moratorium years compared to now.

Indices this year are as bad, if not worse, as in previous moratorium years.

Why hasn’t this season been halted?

We have the same government, different Ministers and GMA now in the mix, while our worsening environmental performance is criticised locally and abroad…

The issue is worthy of timely highlight.

Australia’s state and federal environment Ministers are under fire for what appears to be their apathetic approach to the protection of Australia’s unique fauna.

Some media coverage as follows;

- 22/1/19 Both The Age and The Sydney Morning Herald reported waterbird numbers at Menindee Lakes – one of the hotspots for waterbird numbers – are in long term decline, with a drop in diversity of species and “near absence of breeding at the lakes since 2012”.

- 30/1/19 The Guardian reported OECD’s condemnation of Australia’s environmental performance stating Australia’s biodiversity is “poor and worsening” - a real worry when we house 10% of global species.

- A day later our poor environmental management again hit the International news - with a report on CNN about OECDs' scathing review and our worsening weather. “Australia swelters through record-breaking heat. And the worst is yet to come.” Australia’s Bureau of Meterology announced it had been the country’s hottest January on record, describing the weather as “unprecedented”. “We’re expecting more heat extremes (in Australia) and more records to be broken in the future” (CSIRO).

- The Canberra Times 1/2/19, featured the latest find of thousands more dead fish, “at least 20-30 years old floating lifeless on the (Murray) river even though they survived the devastating Millennium drought of the 2000’s”. The point was made of the danger of Industry groups influencing environmental decisions.

- 31/01/19 ABC News reported The Murray Darling Basin Authority’s Royal Commission slammed the SA water Minister for making decisions “contrary to the interests of South Australians” despite “independent cost-benefit analysis” and being “almost certainly in breach of Ministerial Code of Conduct”. This same Minister recently approved another native waterbird slaughter in South Australia, arguably in similar circumtances.

- The Sydney Morning Herald 1/2/19, reported on the Senate Committee’s investigation of the extinction of Australian fauna, highlighting the issue of donations to government from self interested industry groups such as developers, “politically expediating” these extinctions.

- National Geographic 1/2/19, reported that “Since 1970, populations of wild mammals, birds, fish, and amphibians have, on average, declined by 60%”.

Today is World Wetland’s Day.

Victoria is blessed with stunning wetlands home to rare and threatened native waterbirds, many species unique to our country.

As our wildlife die en masse around us, with evidence of our worsening climate and declining native waterbirds, we appeal to Ministers to heed advice of independent scientists and the wishes of the majority of the population.

Our precious native waterbirds need protection.

A moratorium on shooting must be held this year.

There is a better way for our waterways.

Or will it take a Royal Commission on this too?

Picture Grey Teal, courtesy Eleanor Dilley

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