Response to Aaron Hemley (Duck shooting restrictions discourage shooters, February 26), Ross Ingram and Peter Walsh (Duck hunting season opens in May for just five weeks, February 26) by Regional Victorians Opposed To Duck Shooting (OTDS)
For sustainability and economic reasons, any kind of native waterbird shooting season should not be going ahead say Regional Victorians.
According to scientists, Australia's native waterbirds are at record low numbers - 90 per cent down - and there is little if any breeding amongst "game" species.
Shooting otherwise healthy birds of breeding age in Victoria's recreational bird shooting season is not going to help.
Most would say those birds we are lucky to have seeking refuge in Victoria's remaining waterways should be protected, not shot in a recreation the majority of Victorians abhor.
Long time farmers say ducks have benefits; that they eat the fluke snail saving expensive drenches in sheep and cattle, that they're not pests.
If they were, there are humane, non-lethal means of control.
But the real benefit is in nature tourism potential, tourism which Ararat and surrounds could do with.
Sadly, Ararat and many other Western areas are suffering socially and economically (Census 2016, "Victoria in The Future", 2019)
Meanwhile, tourism contributes more to Australia's economy than agriculture, forestry, fishing, ultilities and information, media and communications. It directly employs 1 in 19 Australians.
(Tourism Satellite Account) and nature based tourism is the fastest growing component.
In the US - one of our key inbound tourist markets - bird watching is now worth a whopping $41 billion a year.
So when Australia is blessed with a rich array of native wildlife found nowhere else on earth, including many of our native waterbirds, Is shooting them out of existence helping us?
Less than half of one percent of the population still shoot ducks across the state, deterring the growing numbers of bushwalkers, kayakers or birdwatchers who end up going elsewhere because of it.
According to a survey of shooters in 2013 self admitted to be biased, duck shooting only brought $2.2 million to the whole of Central Highlands Region.
This is being generous including direct and flow on benefits and importantly, the survey did not account for losses to tourism as a result of duck shooting, nor adverse impacts to the non duck shooting community (majority).
Compare this to Phillip Island Nature Parks where they shoot with cameras, that contributes $120 million and 800 jobs just to that local government area.
Peter Walsh needs to stop misleading rural Victorians in quoting sky high alleged economic benefit which isn't attributable to duck shooting.
Like his friend Bridget, instead of pushing personal recreational club interests he should be concerned about its adverse social and economic impacts to the majority of his constituents.
That's what he was elected for, wasn't it?
Kerrie Allen, Regional Victorians Opposed to Duck Shooting Inc.
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