Adaptive Management of Duck Hunting in Australia: An Assessment of Issues

Adaptive Management of Duck Hunting in Australia: An Assessment of Issues was written by Associate Professor Graham Hall from the School of Animal Studies at The University of Queensland under the commission of the SSAA. Hall states that duck hunting in Australia provides an example of how native species interact with natural and cultural values within a culturally-contested landscape. Many of the perceived threats to ducks have a low management priority because of the limited information such as species distribution, variations in density, survival rates and other life-history characteristics and population rebound potential. There has also been insufficient development of techniques that are essential to adaptive programs in the long term. Hall suggests that only with long-term monitoring on habitat-density hunting relationships will duck managers be able to overcome the hurdles of hunting and non-hunting of ducks.

Adaptive management (AM) is proposed as a technique that links available data to decisions, which can then be applied to the managed hunting season to allow its performance to be monitored. Through this process of trial and error, AM allows for better decisions to evolve about how to manage seasons. An essential component of AM involves agreement and commitment by all stakeholders to the AM process and trust and risk-taking, which is impossible to achieve if the management authority applies the ‘precautionary principle’ to placate organisations opposed to duck hunting. Risk and uncertainty are core components of AM and efforts to counter possible or potential risks on the basis of being ‘precautionary’ is scientifically counterproductive within any AM program.

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