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Ireland hosts international waterfowl annual meeting

The Waterfowlers’ Network runs the SOTKA-project, which aims to restore 400 hectares of habitat.

The Waterfowlers’ Network held its annual general meeting in Wexford in south-east Ireland earlier this week. The meeting, on 12-13 February, included representatives from the Finnish Wildlife Agency, Wetlands International and the European Federation for Hunting and Conservation. 

The Waterfowlers’ Network, founded in 2019, is a collaboration between scientists and hunters who aim to improve data collection and restore habitats. This week’s gathering sought to address key gaps in current conservation efforts directed at waterbirds. Events around the meeting included tours of potential rewetting sights and seminars. 

The Waterfowlers’ Network runs several internationally recognised initiatives including the SOTKA-project, which aims to restore 400 hectares of prime brood habitat to help declining waterbird in areas of Finland and Scandinavia. 

Mike Swan, senior adviser to the GWCT, told ST: “Scientific understanding and international cooperation are key to waterfowl conservation and to the future of wildfowling, so I very much endorse the aims of the Waterfowlers’ Network. Bearing in mind unwarranted restrictions to its quarry list, it’s wonderful that Ireland is hosting this AGM. What better place to meet than the internationally famous Wexford Slobs [nature reserve]?”