The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, announced on Friday last a ban on the sale of woodcock, effective from 1st November 2015. The move follows numerous representations and several meetings with the Minister by NARGC and is aimed at addressing the unsustainable commercial exploitation of this species.
There is a large winter influx of woodcock to Ireland. The Minister has decided to introduce the sale ban, following consultation with relevant stakeholders, in order to reduce the commercial shooting pressure on the species. The ban is effective from November 1st, which is the start date for the hunting season for woodcock which extends until 31st January 2016.
In making the order, the Minister acknowledged the concerns expressed by both hunting groups and conservation bodies that the extent of commercial shooting is threatening the woodcock population. The increase in the shooting of woodcock is due to a large extent to the overseas market for the species.
The Minister said that any further changes will only be implemented in consultation with the relevant hunting and conservation organisations.
NARGC had gathered support for the ban from a number of other interested groups including the National Woodcock Association of Ireland, the Association of Game Shot Operators and BirdWatch Ireland.”
NARGC Director Des Crofton welcomed the move which he said will not cure all the ills of over exploitation inherent in commercial shooting of this species but it will at least remove the financial incentive in Ireland and will render anyone caught either buying or selling woodcock liable to prosecution which will have follow on consequences for firearms and other licenses. The sale of woodcock is now a wildlife crime and he encourages everyone who becomes aware of the sale of woodcock continuing, to report the matter to the Gardai and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.