Stop Shooting in Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve
Friends of Findhorn Bay have petitioned Moray Council for a ban on shooting in the Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve. This is for the benefit of the majority of people who wish to enjoy the Reserve and in the interests of the many Amber and also Red-listed bird species that dwell on or visit Findhorn Bay.
In late 2015, over 800 local people signed a paper petition calling for a ban on shooting in the Findhorn Bay Local Nature Reserve. The petition was heard at an initial hearing of Moray Council’s Economic Development and Infrastructure Services Committee on 8th March 2016. Having received a separate petition from shooting interests, the Council Committee decided to hold talks aimed at finding a compromise. These talks are currently in progress.
If you live near Findhorn Bay and wish to make your views about shooting in the Nature Reserve known, please email or call your Ward 8 (Forres) Councillors. They are Lorna Creswell, Aaron Mclean, George Alexander and Anne Skene. Aaron Mclean and George Alexander both sit on the Committee that will consider the petition, together with 12 other Moray Councillors, and Lorna Creswell is a member of the Findhorn Bay LNR Management Committee. Richard Lochhead MSP (MSP for Moray and also Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs) has also become involved in this issue, so please send him your views also.
The increase in shooting has led to more noise disturbance for both people and wildlife. A growing number of injured, dying and dead geese are being encountered by the public and many people are now actively avoiding the nature reserve during the 6 months of the shooting season, which runs from 1st September to 20th February each year. The increased number of camouflaged people with guns is intimidating to many and these armed individuals are currently being given priority over the general public in being able to move freely around the Bay.
A permit system has been called for a number of times, but since 2005 has been declined by Moray Council on grounds of cost. A ban on shooting would add no on-going costs to the Council’s already burdened finances whilst also opening up the possibility of winter tourism being brought into the area.
Findhorn Bay, as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a Natura 2000 Special Protection Area, an EU Special Area of Conservation and RAMSAR wetland of international importance for wildlife, could and should be protecting the large number of birds that are on the IUCN’s ‘Near-Threatened list’ and which reside on Findhorn Bay.
If there was no shooting in the Nature Reserve, Findhorn Bay could become a prime site of local educational value, bringing in year-round wildlife tourism, including goose-watching in the autumn, winter and spring. In doing so the Bay would be fulfilling the aims of its many designations.