The Wetlands International Waterbird Harvest Specialist Group has published a report on ‘Towards sustainable management of huntable migratory waterbirds in Europe’. The report highlights that 40% of the populations listed on Annex II of the EU Birds Directive, which lists huntable species, have a declining trend. However, the majority of goose populations have increased to the extent that their abundance has lead to significant conflict with agriculture and, in some cases, even causes damage to their sensitive Arctic breeding habitats. Against this background, it is more important than ever to apply the concept of adaptive harvest management (AHM). The report explains the AHM process and provides guidance on how to determine allowable harvest levels or assess the sustainability of existing harvests.
The report demonstrates “that an informed approach to setting allowable harvests does not require detailed demographic information. Essential to the process, however, are estimates of either the observed growth rate from a monitoring programme or the growth rate expected under ideal conditions. In addition, periodic estimates of population size are needed, as well as either empirical information or reasonable assumptions about the form of density dependence. We show that such information exists for many populations, but improvements are needed to improve geographic coverage, reliability and timely data availability”.
The report also highlights the lack of harvest data at the flyway level, which prevents the assessment of harvest sustainability.
The report can be downloaded from the Wetlands International website.