New EU resolution recognises conservation realities

The European Parliament voted on 15 November to adopt a resolution on the EU Action Plan for nature, people and the economy, which was adopted by the parliament this year following a review of their Birds and Habitats Directives. The new resolution broadly welcomed the Action Plan, but identified several areas where improvement was possible.

Of particular note to the shooting community are the resolution’s clauses on Protected species and habitats, one of which “Notes that large predators have a negative impact on agriculture and other economic sectors such as tourism, and present growing challenges to mountain agriculture in particular; calls, therefore, for this too to be taken into account in management plans”. In a later paragraph on the subject, it “Recalls that the coexistence of people and large carnivores, particularly wolves, can have negative impacts in certain regions on the sustainable development of ecosystems and inhabited rural areas, particularly with regard to traditional agriculture and sustainable tourism, and on other socio-economic activities; calls on the Commission and the Member States to take concrete measures to address these issues, so as not to endanger the sustainable development of rural areas, while recognising the available flexibility within the Habitats Directive”. There is also a call to use “best practice tools” to manage abundant populations of waterbirds. Although shooting is not explicitly mentioned, it does seem to be implicitly endorsed. Agriculture is recognised as a key player in maintaining sustainable biodiversity.

The European Federation of Associations for Hunting & Conservation (FACE) called the resolution, “a more pragmatic approach.” FACE’s secretary general Ludwig Willnegger said, “This European Parliament Resolution reaffirms both the challenges and successes of EU nature conservation in particular with regard to large carnivores. Importantly, it acknowledges that greater flexibility and adjustment measures are required. Some large carnivore populations have been doing extremely well and in some cases, they have already reached favourable conservation status. Now, FACE calls on the European Commission to listen to the call of the European Parliament to develop and implement an assessment procedure for populations of certain species that have reached favourable conservation status.”

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