Shooting of four duck species banned in Ireland


Four duck species – Greater Scaup, Common Pochard, Common Goldeneye and Northern Pintail – have been removed from the list of legal quarry for the forthcoming shooting season in Ireland.

However, BirdWatch Ireland (BWI) has expressed its disappointment that two further bird species – European Golden Plover and Northern Shoveler – remain on the list, going against scientific recommendations due to ongoing declines in both.

Common Pochard will not be legally hunted in Ireland this winter (Mark Wilson).

The organisation says that no rationale has been provided by the Irish government as to why these species remain on the list, and that "the information provided announcing the decision is inadequate and lacking detail."

BWI added: "Every pressure and threat must be addressed considering the dire conservation status of many of the species that are huntable in Ireland. We hope that hunting organisations will support this decision and we also hope that government will assist hunting organisations to be able to contribute to data collection in Ireland."

A total of 21 species are currently huntable in Ireland during the open season. These are listed on the Open Seasons Order, which is published by the National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS).

Earlier in 2023, BWI called for the list to be reviewed, with particular attention paid to six species that were of conservation concern. BWI believed that all six should be removed from the list of legal quarry due to "robust scientific evidence of their ongoing declines".

But NPWS has heeded the scientific advice for only four of the six species, as outlined by this year's amendment to the Open Seasons Order.

Despite a declining population, European Golden Plover can still be legally hunted in Ireland (Ian Bollen).

In addition to the suggested changes to the Open Seasons Order species list, BWI made a number of other suggestions. It is calling for the Open Seasons Order to be reviewed more regularly, particularly in light of the ongoing threat of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HPAI) and the rapid negative change that could occur in a population as a result of an outbreak.

Furthermore, BWI also called for further analysis to be undertaken by the NPWS in relation to nine of the other species listed – Tufted Duck, Common Snipe, Jack Snipe, Eurasian Woodcock, Mallard, Eurasian Teal, Eurasian Wigeon, Gadwall and Red Grouse.