Northern Territory FGA will keep a close watch of the commercial harvest of magpie geese.
NT FGA president Gavin Lovelock said the Territory Government’s decision to allow thousands of magpie geese to be caught and sold to restaurants caught them off guard during the season but it is allowable under the management plan for the popular game bird.
Gavin said the permit to harvest 4 000 magpie geese commercially came to light after Territory hunters had accepted a reduction in the daily bag limit from 10 to seven.
“The first we knew about it was from a Mango farmer who we had been helping with crop protection who was approached about trapping on the property,” he said.
“Unfortunately we weren’t consulted but as Parks and Wildlife said it’s a commercial permit so why would they consult recreational hunters.”
Mr Lovelock said the commercial harvest is being done by an indigenous community and the permit is not dissimilar to the indigenous harvest of Kakadu Plums for commercial sale.
“We are not against indigenous communities generating an income from the resources on their land,” he said.
However, given the commercial take becomes a factor setting limits to ensure the annual harvest is sustainable Gavin said hunters do have an interest and will be paying close attention.
“We accepted a reduction in bag limit from 10 to seven per day but then we found out a permit was issued for a commercial take of 4 000,” he said.
“As soon as to create a market and a commodity you create potential for a black market and you have to regulate it.
“We also have concerns about humane aspects of trapping live animals, which is the only way they can be harvested commercially.”
NT FGA is also concerned about the prospect of over-commercialisation and the impact that would have on permit hunters.
“It could compound over time and lead to reduced bag limits.”
The magpie goose season ended in early January.
“All in all the season was good, there was probably not enough water in the reserves
because of late rains and that had the impact of pushing hunters into one reserve,” Gavin said.
“For those that were out there and put the time in and picked their shots most people got their daily bag.”