Posted: Tue 23rd May 2023

Agriculture Bill misses opportunity to protect Curlew says North Wales MS

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 23rd, 2023

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The defeat of a key amendment to the Agriculture (Wales) Bill, aimed at protecting the Curlew and other species, has been met with disappointment by North Wales MS and Wales Species Champion for the Curlew, Mark Isherwood.

In a debate on the Bill, Mr Isherwood spoke passionately in support of Amendment 44, which pertains to the use of humane cable restraints. However, despite his advocacy, the amendment was ultimately rejected.

“The ‘State of Nature Report, Wales 2019’ found that one in six species in Wales are threatened with extinction,” Mr Isherwood reminded his peers during the debate. He pointed out that the Curlew, considered the UK’s highest conservation priority bird species, could be extinct as a breeding population in Wales within a decade without intervention.

Furthermore, he emphasised that losing the Curlew could potentially mean the loss or damage to up to 70 other species, given the bird’s status as an indicator species.

Some experts warn that the timeframe to extinction could even be halved to just five years without certain interventions, such as the availability of humane cable restraints under a licencing scheme.

Working alongside Glyfinir Cymru/Curlew Wales, a partnership committed to preventing the extinction of Curlew in Wales, Mr Isherwood has learned that predation of nests and chicks by apex predators is a primary cause of breeding failure.

He has visited Curlew recovery projects and been shown the difference between humane cable restraints and traditional snares, as well as the importance of adopting good operating practices through training.

In response to the defeat of Amendment 44, Mr Isherwood suggested, “We face a stark choice: extinction of multiple further species, or a range of urgent intervention measures to reverse biodiversity loss.”

He stated his belief that only highly regulated and licensed use of humane cable restraints could enable the full range of necessary interventions.

The defeat of the amendment thus represents a significant setback for biodiversity protection in Wales, particularly for the Curlew, a species already in severe danger of extinction.

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