Sus­tain­able Hunt­ing Ac­tion Plan

Daniel An­drew’s La­bor Gov­ern­ment has com­mit­ted to Vic­to­ria’s Sus­tain­able Hunt­ing Ac­tion Plan, a doc­u­ment that sets out mea­sures to grow hunt­ing and hunt­ing op­por­tu­nity in the state.

Field and Game - - Sustainable Hunting Action Plan -

The long-awaited re­lease of the Sus­tain­able Hunt­ing Ac­tion Plan (SHAP) fol­lowed a din­ner at Par­lia­ment House where Field & Game Aus­tralia and the Aus­tralian Deer As­so­ci­a­tion were briefed by Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Jaala Pul­ford, and newly ap­pointed Game Man­age­ment Au­thor­ity (GMA) chair, Brian Hine. Funded in the 2016–17 Vic­to­rian Bud­get, the four-year plan sets out a $5.3 mil­lion in­vest­ment to sup­port more than 50 000 Vic­to­rian game hunters. It sets out prac­ti­cal ob­jec­tives for the GMA, the Depart­ment of Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment, Jobs, Trans­port and Re­sources, the Depart­ment of En­vi­ron­ment, Land, Water and Plan­ning, and Parks Vic­to­ria in com­ing years. Th­ese in­clude pro­mot­ing re­spon­si­ble hunt­ing, improving hunt­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties and max­imis­ing >>

the eco­nomic, en­vi­ron­men­tal and so­cial ben­e­fits.

“This is a sig­nif­i­cant mile­stone for game hunt­ing in Vic­to­ria and will be used to guide gov­ern­ment and recre­ational hunters into the fu­ture,” Min­is­ter Pul­ford said. “It’s vi­tal that we con­tinue work­ing hard to en­sure that peo­ple who want to hunt can do so in a safe, sus­tain­able way.”

Field & Game Aus­tralia gen­eral man­ager David Mc­n­abb wel­comed the re­lease of SHAP but said the real test would be de­liv­ery of out­comes un­der the plan and, given re­cent his­tory, the or­gan­i­sa­tion re­served judge­ment. “This is the only course avail­able to FGA, based on ex­pe­ri­ences in 2016 where a com­mit­ment to a mod­i­fied sea­son was made by gov­ern­ment, with­out foun­da­tion on sci­ence, ev­i­dence or data,” he said. “That com­mit­ment was taken at face value by hunters and plans put in place to make the most of the mod­i­fied sea­son im­posed on hunt­ing. The real is­sues then emerged from the man­age­ment ac­tions im­posed to limit the im­pact of hunt­ing on small pop­u­la­tions of rate, threat­ened or en­dan­gered wa­ter­birds, ac­tions im­posed us­ing un­prece­dented mech­a­nisms to can­cel hunt­ing (Lake El­iz­a­beth SGR) or as­sump­tions (bit­tern at John­son Swamp State Game Re­serve). “The prac­ti­cal re­sult of the ac­tions taken by gov­ern­ment and its agen­cies is to min­imise hunt­ing, and we have now seen where the state­ments and the ac­tions don’t align.”

Hunt­ing con­tin­ues to grow in pop­u­lar­ity and makes a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion to the Vic­to­rian econ­omy. An es­ti­mated $439 mil­lion flows into towns and re­gional cen­tres across Vic­to­ria, sup­port­ing about 3500 jobs.

The ma­jor ini­tia­tives in the plan are:

• Fa­cil­i­tate game meat pro­cess­ing by in­ves­ti­gat­ing and re­duc­ing bar­ri­ers to the pro­cess­ing of wild har­vested game meat to al­low op­ti­mal use of game har­vest.

• De­velop a sus­tain­able hunt­ing re­search strat­egy for Vic­to­ria in or­der to bet­ter in­form de­ci­sions about the cur­rent sta­tus of game re­sources, sus­tain­able har­vest lev­els and the im­pact of hunt­ing ac­tiv­ity.

• Im­ple­men­ta­tion of a wa­ter­fowl con­ser­va­tion har­vest model us­ing the best sci­en­tific meth­ods to pre­dict the im­pact of en­vi­ron­men­tal fac­tors and hunt­ing on game duck pop­u­la­tions.

• Im­prove State Game Re­serve habi­tat by build­ing on an au­dit of all State Game Re­serves, de­vel­op­ing man­age­ment prin­ci­ples to main­tain qual­ity habi­tats, and es­tab­lish­ing two demon­stra­tion sites in col­lab­o­ra­tion with hunt­ing or­gan­i­sa­tions where the new man­age­ment prin­ci­ples will be put into prac­tice.

• A sin­gle, com­pre­hen­sive hunt­ing web­site, an im­proved dis­tri­bu­tion net­work for a new hunt­ing man­ual, and the up­grad­ing of the game li­cens­ing sys­tem to al­low for more tar­geted mes­sag­ing to hunters.

• Im­prove sea­sonal an­nounce­ments by ef­fec­tively com­mu­ni­cat­ing in­for­ma­tion to stake­hold­ers when sea­sonal vari­a­tions are re­quired or ar­eas are tem­po­rar­ily closed to hunt­ing. Early ad­vice will be pro­vided through the Vic­to­rian Game Hunt­ing App, Twit­ter and Face­book.

• Con­duct a study ev­ery five years to de­ter­mine the con­tri­bu­tion of hunt­ing to the econ­omy.

• Im­prove hunt­ing lo­ca­tion knowl­edge by: de­vel­op­ing a map set for Vic­to­ria show­ing where dif­fer­ent game hunt­ing can oc­cur on pub­lic land; improving sig­nage on State Game Re­serves; and improving sig­nage on other pub­lic land where hunt­ing is per­mit­ted, in­clud­ing na­tional parks and high-use state forests.

• Ex­pand pest hunt­ing by ex­plor­ing fur­ther hunt­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties by game li­cence hold­ers at State Game Re­serves, sub­ject to ap­pro­pri­ate pest con­trol pro­to­cols.

• De­velop an on­line game sys­tem that al­lows on­line pro­cess­ing and pay­ment of game li­cences.

• De­velop a deer man­age­ment strat­egy that sets a strate­gic plan to main­tain sus­tain­able hunt­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties while re­duc­ing the im­pact of deer on bio­di­ver­sity on all land tenures in the state.

• Sup­port the Aus­tralian Na­tional Hunt­ing Ar­chive by help­ing the Ar­chive de­velop an elec­tronic cat­a­logue sys­tem of his­tor­i­cal in­for­ma­tion eas­ily ac­cessed by the pub­lic.

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