Press release of the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Environment
Closer cooperation between the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Environment in protecting the habitats of wetlands birds
In recent decades many valuable bird waters have become overgrown with vegetation and their avian fauna has declined. The problem concerns both protected wetland bird species and many species of ducks with high habitat demands which are being hunted. Decline of game bird populations can partly by addressed by temporary hunting restrictions, but improving the situation for wetland birds on a more permanent basis requires that their habitats are protected.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Environment together with other relevant stakeholders are launching preparations for a project on the matter. Broadly-based and ongoing cooperation is needed for the rapidly declining aquatic and shore bird populations to recover and to preserve valuable wetland habitats.
“The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Ministry of the Environment must work even more closely together to restore and rehabilitate valuable wetlands”, says the Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Jari Leppä.
“Project funding has already been successfully and effectively used for restoration projects in protected bird waters, but much more action is needed. The key issue is to find the financial resources for habitat restoration and management. Additional inputs are needed for this in the years to come”, says the Minister of the Environment, Energy and Housing Kimmo Tiilikainen.
Network of protected areas for aquatic birds to be restored
A comprehensive approach is needed for the management of the network comprised of conservation areas and wetlands of varying types and sizes outside these. The recovery of many declining species requires the restoration of wetlands that are important for nesting and wintering and as resting places for migratory birds. Besides game bird species, other avian fauna in wetland habitats would also benefit from this.
Small wetland areas could be established in areas close to protected wetlands to compensate for hunting opportunities that may be lost, which would also motivate hunters to manage the conservation areas and hunt small carnivores.
In the EU-funded Kotiseutukosteikko Life (Home District Life) project means to activate hunters and landowners to manage wetlands were developed. Local people can be involved in the management of conservation areas and wetlands if the opportunity is offered and the people find this rewarding.
Hunting of common pochard, red-breasted merganser and long-tailed duck to be stopped
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry is preparing a decree that will prohibit the hunting of common pochard, red-breasted merganser and long-tailed duck for three years. The common pochard population has declined fast in the past few decades, while the conservation status for long-tailed duck and red-breasted merganser has already been tightened due to the Agreement on the Conservation of African-Eurasian Migratory Waterbirds (AEWA).
The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry also proposes that the management measures for these species and their sustainable hunting would be agreed in international management plans among all states along the migratory routes. This would ensure sustainable hunting both in the nesting and wintering areas and during migration.
Janne Pitkänen, Senior Officer, Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, tel. +358 295 16 2338, [email protected]
Esko Hyvärinen, Senior Ministerial Adviser, Ministry of the Environment, tel. +358 295 250 094, [email protected]