MEMBER for Western Victoria Andy Meddick has welcomed the closure of one of Victoria’s lakes at the beginning of the state’s duck season.
The Animal Justice Party MP said he wrote to Victoria’s agriculture and environment ministers on Thursday last week to alert them of the presence of 39 endangered freckled ducks on Lake Elizabeth near Kerang, and to request them to close the wetland to shooters.
The following day, the Game Management Authority announced that Lake Elizabeth would be closed for seven days, during which time it will be monitored to determine if it will remain closed to hunting for a longer period.
If the numbers of freckled duck decline substantially, it will be recommended to be reopened to hunting.
Mr Meddick thanked the state government for acknowledging the presence of the speckled ducks. “Closing this wetland is a positive step towards preventing endangered, vulnerable and threatened ducks being shot,” he said.
“However, a permanent ban of duck shooting is the only solution to stop thousands of other ducks being brutally injured and killed.”
Duck season began at 9am on March 16, and will close on June 11.
The bag limit will remain at 10 birds per person per day but, like last year, hunting the blue-winged shoveler will be prohibited due to persistent low numbers of the species.
Lake Elizabeth joins a list of wetlands or parts of wetlands closed from the start of the 2019 season to protect or prevent disturbance to significant numbers of threatened birds.
These include Hospital Swamps (part of the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve) near Geelong), which has been closed due to the disturbance hunting would have on a large number of critically endangered curlew sandpiper before their migration to Siberia.
The remaining wetlands that make up the Lake Connewarre State Game Reserve (Reedy Lake, Salt Swamp and Lake Connewarre) will remain open to hunting.