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Anti-shooters destroy Findhorn wildfowling agreement

28 September 2019

Anti-shooters destroy Findhorn wildfowling agreement

Many of you will be aware of the negotiation over wildfowling at Findhorn Bay. Despite local wildfowling being a long-established cultural and wild food harvesting activity of abundant species, a number of anti-shooters have sought to stop wildfowling or restrict it to the point where it is no longer viable.

This all came to a head back in 2016 and since then there has been increased shoot sabotage activity during flights. Amongst other nefarious tactics, antis have resorted to waving geese and waders off roosts, flashing strobe lights, physical obstruction and standing in front of guns.

In the background, a series of negotiations took place to try and find a compromise way forward. Although the last negotiation ultimately failed, there appeared to be some development of common ground understanding and courtesy, enough to perhaps build a potential future agreement and certainly enough for wildfowlers to continue to hope that the anti-shooters would put the nature reserve and community ahead of their own compulsive ideological anti-shooting obsession.

Despite the inability of anti-shooters to agree to workable compromise rather than impracticable restrictions, before the wildfowling season Findhorn Wildfowlers and SACS worked with Forres, Nairn and District Wildfowling Association to develop and promote our own set of clear and workable voluntary restrictions - see below link:

Those opposed to wildfowling at Findhorn were made aware of our voluntary restrictions and our desire to continue to find a more formal agreement going forward. Our voluntary restrictions were publicly welcomed and lauded by Moray councillors and local inhabitants as genuine progress.

Yet, despite our consistent attempts to work with the anti-shooters towards a meaningful solution, and our public call for a quiet and courteous season to give us all time to build trust, today the anti-shooters launched a full-on saboteur attack against Findhorn wildfowlers, including Martin Gauld and other well-known, reputable and responsible local wildfowlers out on the bay before a planned wildfowlers litter picking session.

This anti-shooter behaviour is reckless and insupportable; it has in one final step destroyed any remaining shard of trust. By their blatant ideologically-driven stupidity, the antis have today forced an end to the voluntary restrictions wildfowlers worked so hard put in place for this season. Anti-shooters have treated their local community, councillors, reserve and negotiation partners with utter contempt.

Martin Gauld, Findhorn Wildfowlers: "This is an absolute disgrace. If I had not been on the bay myself this morning I would not have believed it. After years of meetings and negotiations and a clear commitment from our wildfowlers to abide by these voluntary restrictions, despite no overall agreemnt between the parties, it is disappointing the the antis would treat our genuine endeavours with such contempt. The antis are totally unwilling to compromise and behave respectfully to negotiation partners and the local community they profess to represent. Therefore, after today's appalling and dangerous behaviour the voluntary restrictions are scrapped."

Alex Stoddart, SACS: "Throughout this whole process wildfowlers have made commitments and offered workable compromises. Yet at every turn the anti-shooters have sought to frustrate the negotiations and bring forward restrictions so omerous that wildfowling would end. Despite our many genuine attempts towards compromise and the current wildfowler-instigated voluntary restrictions, the anti-shooters just could not help themselves.

Not only do they not care about working towards compromise, by their reckless conduct today it is quite clear they do not even care about their local community. As a direct result of this behaviour, there is now absolutely no way negotations can. continue Therefore and with great sadness the voluntary restrictions come to an end with immediate effect."

Without fail, all anti-shooter harassment should be reported to the police.