|Banning lead shot use in wetlandsDirect and indirect lead poisoning remains a significant source of mortality for waterfowl and predators. Many alternatives to lead shot exist and conservationists and hunters alike agree on the necessity of this measure for conservation and health reasons. The EU and its Member States have committed to “endeavour to phase out the use of lead shot for hunting in wetlands by the year 2000” under the African-Eurasian Waterbird Agreement (AEWA, Resolution 1.14 of the First Meeting of the Parties). This has been supported by a bilateral agreement between BirdLife International and the European Hunters Federation (FACE). Yet in 2011 at least seven Member States still failed to legally ban lead shot use in wetlands and many more do not properly enforce and control such a ban on the ground. Where progress has been limited, obstacles appear to be political in nature. A summary of the current legal limitations on use of lead shot in the EU is presented below (as reported informally from the Member States).
Summary of the current legal limitations on use of lead shot in the EU
Even where laws have been implemented, compliance can be very poor (see below). It appears that more complete bans on use (e.g. across all habitats) are associated with greater compliance, although further investigation would be needed to confirm this. Compliance also appears to be greater where hunting organisations have actively supported removal of lead shot use over wetlands, although purely voluntary approaches have been largely ineffective at achieving behavioural change.
RSPB (BirdLife partner in the UK)
Jeff Knott - Jeff.Knott(at)rspb.org.uk