Ms PENNICUIK (Southern Metropolitan) — It is so very disappointing that on 3 January the government announced that a full, 12-week, duck shooting season will go ahead this year with no reduction in bag limits and no restrictions on so-called game species that can be shot, except to exclude the blue-winged shoveler due to 'continued low numbers'. This is despite the finding of the annual aerial survey of wetland birds in eastern Australia, October 2016, conducted by the Centre for Ecosystem Science at the University of New South Wales that:
Total waterbird abundance was the lowest on record (34 years) … and that despite a rise in 'breeding species richness and wetland area' compared to 2015, 'there are continued long-term declines in these indices'. The survey also found that:
Game species abundance were all well below long-term averages, in many cases by an order of magnitude.
That is, there was an increase in breeding of some species last year, but the overall trend is declining numbers of waterbirds across Australia. This is very obvious when looking at the graphs in the report. In particular the breeding indexes for the Pacific black duck, the grey teal, the chestnut teal, the Australian wood duck and the pink-eared duck — all declared so-called 'game species' during duck shooting season — have been falling steadily since the late 1980s, except for the occasional better year. Some indexes have completely flatlined in some bands.
With this information to hand, it is unbelievable that the government, which should be protecting our struggling native waterbirds, would allow another duck shooting season to go ahead rather than give our waterbirds a chance to recover. This is over and above the brutality that duck shooting involves. Duck shooting should be banned, as it is New South Wales, Western Australia and Queensland.