A CALL HAS been made for a full ban on wildfowling activities around Findhorn Bay.
John Finnie MSP, who is the Green Party spokesman on Justice, has called for the ban – arguing that the activity is contrary to the purpose of Findhorn Bay as a place for local people and visitors to “learn about and enjoy nature close to where they live”.
A petition raised by local residents calling on Moray Council to ban shooting in the Bay has been signed by 800 people, citing noise disturbance, regular incidents of abandoned goose carcasses and concern for the impact on the environment from discarded shotgun carcases.
Campaigners also insist that there is “ample evidence” resulting from discarded shotgun cartridge cases that banned lead shot is being used in the area.
In January, local MSP Richard Lochhead met with representatives from both sides of the debate seeking to learn more about the issue, while it is also due to be discussed at a meeting of the Council’s economic development and infrastructure committee this month.
Mr Finnie said: “Many constituents have contacted me to express concern about the unregulated shooting that takes place in Findhorn Bay.
“Indeed, even shooting websites comment on the now notorious poor shooting practice associated with the Bay. I share the residents’ concerns that shooting in what is supposed to be a tranquil area is harmful to the community.
“It is unacceptable that an area intended to benefit residents cannot be enjoyed as community space because it is dominated by visiting shooters. Many of those shooters are attracted by the total lack of regulation and some travel hundreds of miles to Findhorn Bay, passing many well-regulated wild fowling areas en route.
“Let me be clear what I have been told. During shooting season, residents avoid the bay because they feel intimidated and unsafe – they are sickened by stumbling across maimed birds and rotting goose carcasses.”
The MSP has urged Moray Council to take the concerns seriously, adding that any proposal to create a bylaw regulating the shooting would pose “significant questions about who would ‘police’ control the practice of the shooters”.
Mr Finnie added: “I believe the only credible option, to ensure the locals can have unrestricted access to their nature reserve throughout the year, is a complete ban on wildfowling within the Bay.
“A complete ban is more readily enforceable and leaves no-one in any doubt about what is and is not acceptable within the reserve and would see Police Scotland being able to enforce this law as they do numerous other pieces of wildlife legislation.
“A ban on shooting will ensure Findhorn Bay is once again a place of beauty and peace for locals and visitors to enjoy nature.”