The Waterbird Harvest Specialist Group (WHSG) affiliated to Wetlands International was re-launched on the 28th of August at the 31st Congress of the International Union of Game Biologists during a thematic session on waterbird management  which was sponsored by the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of the EU (FACE).

Re-activating the group is a response to a long standing need for more coordinated game management of what are mostly migratory waterfowl. This has been preceded by an increase in activities related to the sustainable management of waterbirds within the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA) region. These include the development and adoption of the AEWA Species and Management Plans which foresee the coordination of sustainable harvest practices for species such as the Pink-footed Goose amongst range states. The ongoing processes have shown not only that there is a clear need for scientific and policy related advice on the sustainable use of waterbirds on a flyway scale but that in AEWA there is an instrument through which they can be developed and implemented.

As specified in the Terms of Reference adopted by the Specialist Group’s board, the group will in particular aim to promote science-based knowledge and to act as scientific advisors in national and international processes where harvest is an issue for conservation or management of waterbird species and species populations.

Activities to be undertaken by the group include identifying the extent and types of harvest taking place within the major waterbird flyways and identifying what information is needed to sustainably manage waterbird populations as well as which knowledge gaps need to be addressed. The group will also aim to provide useful decision making tools for harvest management processes. Whilst the initial scope of activities will be largely focused on the AEWA region the group is open to global issues and will seek greater collaboration between flyways. 

The group will be affiliated as a Wetlands International Specialist Group, chaired by Professor Jesper Madsen of Aarhus University in Denmark, with the Secretariat provided FACE. This underlines the continued commitment by European hunters towards the sustainable management of migratory waterfowl.

For details on membership to the group please consult the WHSG webpage.
For more information, please contact WHSG Chair Prof. Jesper Madsen or  Dr. Taej Mundkur at Wetlands International.

Angus Middleton and Cy Griffin are respectively Chief Executive and Wildlife Policy Manager of the Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation of Europe (FACE): angus.middleton@face.eu and cy.griffin@face.eu