Wales' bird shooting approach criticised by charity

Greenland White-fronted Goose Image copyright Derek Moore/WOS
Image caption The charity wants the Greenland white-fronted goose to be given legal protection in Wales

A law which allows anglers to shoot birds that have a serious impact on fisheries could lead to a long-term decline of some species, a charity warns.

The Welsh Ornithological Society (WOS) says the Welsh government has no proof cormorants and goosanders are detrimental to fish stocks.

It has written to the natural resources minister urging a policy change.

The Welsh government said only those with a licence could shoot the birds.

Image copyright Derek Moore/WOS
Image caption WOS says the Welsh government cannot know whether shooting will lead to a long-term decline in bird populations

The society's president, naturalist Iolo Williams, said: "In licensing the killing of birds just because they eat fish, it has no evidence of serious damage nor of the impact of shooting on the birds' populations.

"In both cases the Welsh government is probably in breach of the law and international conservation agreements. It is about time it took its conservation duties seriously."

The charity also wants the Welsh government to give legal protection to the Greenland white-fronted goose.

The rare breed winters only in Wales, Scotland and Ireland, but Wales is the only place it is not protected from shooting.

A Welsh government spokesman said there was no evidence to suggest Greenland white-fronted geese were being shot and it supported a long-standing voluntary ban on shooting by wildfowling clubs on the Dovey estuary.

"If new evidence comes to light, then the option of pursuing a statutory prohibition on shooting these birds will be reconsidered," the spokesman added.

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