The Victorian Government has gazetted the closure of the entire Koorangie State Game Reserve and other significant wetlands for the whole of the 2018 Duck Season in a move that has disappointed Field & Game Australia and will no doubt upset law abiding duck hunters.
FGA represented members in the formal discussions on potential wetland closures and we have expressed our disappointment with the outcome.
We argued strongly that closures should be a measure of last resort; made only when there is sufficient evidence of large numbers of protected species on a particular wetland. In circumstances where the risk to protected species could be mitigated by on ground management and hunter education we argued for hunter access to continue with appropriate monitoring.
The closure of public wetlands (including the Koorangie and Reedy Lakes complexes) for the 2018 season has been published in the Government Gazette, however FGA is lobbying for these to be monitored and reassessed during the season. A further two wetlands, the western side of Hird Swamp and Lake Martin will be closed only for the opening weekend.
We also argued for timely closure announcements so hunters could plan ahead and not be left stranded as they were at Lake Elizabeth in 2016. On that score this is a slight improvement.
Below are the known protected species counts for wetlands included in the closures.
Linlithgow - 575 Freckled Duck & 961 Blue-billed Duck
Beal Beal - 300+ Freckled Duck & 200+ Blue-billed Duck
Lonsdale - 650+ Freckled Duck
Browns - 72 Freckled Duck
Rushworth - 120+ Freckled Duck
Brickworks - 32 Freckled Duck
Martin - 20 Freckled Duck & 100 Curlew Sandpiper!!!
Bolac - 610 Blue-billed Duck
Muirhead 50 Blue-billed Duck & 40 Brolga
Tower Hill - 120 Blue-billed Duck
Seaward area adjacent to the Spit Wildlife Reserve and Western Treatment Plant - Orange Bellied Parrot
Kow Swamp - Gazetted annually due to it’s status as a sanctuary
Reedy Lake (Kerang) - Gazetted annually due to it’s status as a sanctuary
Details of closures are also available on the GMA website and the Victorian Government Gazette detailing the closures is published below.