Leaked Report Slams Game Management Authority
This week the leaked copy of the report by Pegasus Economics, commissioned by the Game Management Authority has gained wide spread media attention as anti groups jump on board calling for the sport of duck shooting to be banned.
The damning report for the GMA was leaked to the media from an undisclosed source. One would hope that this source is not linked to the findings in the document as this would suggest that there is already a huge anti hunting bias from within the document creators.
The report found the GMA has not effectively met its compliance and enforcement responsibilities.
BREACHES of hunting laws are widespread.
THE GMA is not perceived by all stakeholders as independent and is “vulnerable to capture by the interests that it is seeking to regulate”.
Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the season would continue, but slammed the GMA.
“The vast majority of hunters do the right thing, but last year there was a minority of hunters whose actions were unacceptable,” Ms Pulford said, referring to season opening at Koorangie State Game Reserve, where hunters killed 260 protected species.
“Last year was the first real test of the GMA’s effectiveness as a regulator since it was set up by the previous government in 2014,” Ms Pulford said.
“In my opinion the GMA did not pass the test.”
Activist Duck Nut Laurie Levy
"I had hoped that the report would force the [Agriculture] Minister [Jaala Pulford] to bring duck shooting to an end for all time," he said.
"The report was so damning of the Game Management Authority, I thought this can't go on. The Minister would have to look after our native water birds and close down duck shooting completely."
If Laurie was to follow his own ideals all activists should also be banned from protesting as Mr Levy, 74, pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates Court to obstructing a game officer by grabbing his boat at the start of this year's season. Mr Levy was fined $500 for obstruction and $250 for entering the water before 10am.
Game Management Authority
The GMA said the report is comprehensive and it is taking it seriously.
"The Board is supportive of the recommendations made," GMA chair Brian Hine said.
"We've implemented the ones that we can implement, that we have the power and resources to do now and they're in place and they'll be in place now for the forthcoming duck season."
However, he pointed out that the Authority has limited resources.
"It's a $5 million budget and about 20 staff, so we need more, we need to make the best of what we've got," he said.
"We have an excellent very small team who have been working very hard for three years, since the establishment of the Authority, to ensure we have the right processes and procedures in place.
"We're not perfect, we're not there yet and we need help, we need help from hunters themselves. So it's really critical.
"We can only do what we can do. I think we're getting very good value for the relatively small budget and relatively small authority that we have."
Shooters' groups in rare agreement with activists over GMA
The ABC reported there are 48,000 licenced game hunters in Victoria, including about 26,000 duck hunters.
Field and Game Australia represents about 18,000 of them.
Its chief executive officer Richard Light disputed the claim that misbehaviour was widespread among hunters, saying that what happened at Koorangie was atypical.
"Our response to that incident was disappointment, but we believe it's a very, very isolated case," he said.
"Hunters are law abiding citizens and by their nature, Field and Game members are passionate about ducks and the wetlands.
Mr Light also revealed the FGA had written to Ms Pulford, along with two other hunting organisations, to express concerns about the GMA's ability to fulfil its role.
"The GMA and the Government need to strictly enforce the rules, we've been calling for this for a long time," he said.
The Pegasus Economics report showed that one hunting organisation described GMA as "woefully inadequate".