Government Announces Wetland Closures for the 2024 Victorian Duck Season

Published Sun 07 Apr 2024

Government Announces Wetland Closures for the 2024 Victorian Duck Season

In a recent move by the Victorian government, a series of wetland closures have been gazetted for the upcoming 2024 duck hunting season. The decision encompasses a total of 32 wetlands across the state, which have been either fully closed or subjected to partial closures for the season.

Gazzette here

The Context of the Closures

The primary justification provided for these closures are increased sightings of protected and threatened species within these wetlands.
With favourable seasonal conditions leading to a general uptick in bird populations across the board – we should be able to focus on a positive but those ideologically opposed to hunting see this as a chance for increased advocacy for closures – citing  concerned with the preservation of these species.

It is noteworthy that the Government and the Game Management Authority (GMA) have taken a stand against some of the more extreme calls for closures which sought to close the entire Connewarre system, including Reedy Lake and Hospital Swamp. This decision has been viewed positively by many, indicating a level of support for the hunting community and the recognition of the complexities involved in managing such ecosystems.

Field & Game Australia's Stance

Field & Game Australia (FGA), while supportive of responsible and sustainable hunting practices, expresses disappointment in the approach taken towards these closures. The organization believes that the closures reflect a broader trend of using regulatory measures as a means to incrementally restrict hunting activities, without adequate consideration of alternative management strategies that could serve to protect vulnerable species while still allowing for hunting to continue in a regulated manner.

FGA is particularly disheartened by the closure of parts of the Lake Connewarre system, a wetland that has benefited from the dedicated conservation efforts of FGA members over the years. The presence of the orange-bellied parrot, a species FGA has actively supported through re-introduction efforts, has been cited as a key reason for the closure.

Looking Ahead

The full details of the gazetted closures, including a comprehensive list of the affected wetlands and the rationale behind each closure, will be made available soon on the GMA website. FGA encourages all members and the broader hunting community to stay informed and engage in ongoing discussions about sustainable hunting practices and conservation efforts.

As we navigate these changes, FGA remains committed to advocating for the interests of hunters and the preservation of Victoria's rich biodiversity.