by Tony Pople and Gordon Grigg
Department of Zoology, The University of Queensland
for Environment Australia, August 1999
Chapters 10,11,12 and 13 and Appendix 1 provided by staff at Environment Australia
AWMS POSITION PAPER ON THE SUSTAINABLE COMMERCIAL USE OF WILDLIFE
Wildlife is used to encompass undomesticated native animals and uncultivated native plants.
Sustainability is taken to mean the capacity for long-term commercial use without reducing the species geographic range, changing existing patterns of genetic
variability, or radically altering community structure and function).
THE AUSTRALASIAN WILDLIFE MANAGEMENT SOCIETY:
RECOGNISES that the people of Australia and new Zealand place a high value on the conservation of native plants and animals and that decisions about wildlife use
are always the consequence of an amalgam of facts and values;
Is CONCERNED that, despite this interest, biodiversity continues to be lost, due largely to land use priorities which favour exotic species at the expense of native
AGREES that, in developing a policy in relation to any particular wildlife management issue, the Society must place particular emphasis upon the application of
scientific information and methodology but, in doing so, should not ignore values, and should strive to find a consensus view reflecting the values held by a majority of
SUPPORTS the concept of achieving habitat and species conservation goals through the sustainable use of wildlife, whether consumptive or non-consumptive, as
spelled out in the resolution adopted at the December 1990 General Assembly of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which recognised,
inter alia, that '....ethical, wise and sustainable use of some wildlife can provide an alternative or supplementary means of productive land use, and can be consistent
with and encourage conservation, where such use is in accordance with adequate safeguards...';
RECOGNISES the need to develop suitable guidelines to ensure that the commercial use of a particular species or habitat is sustainable;
ACCEPTS that landowners are more likely to expend resources conserving wildlife that is economically valuable to them, than wildlife with a neutral or negative
ACKNOWLEDGES that the commercial use of wildlife provides special opportunities for the sustainable economic development of rural people, especially in
Is AWARE that it is now technically and scientifically possible to sustain uses of wildlife for commercial purposes without endangering species or their supporting
RECOGNISES that any species which has the capacity to support commercially profitable, ecologically sustainable harvests is a potential candidate for commercial
RECOGNISES that there are some species for which cultural considerations prohibit any consumptive use and, further, that there is a need to consider each case
individually, on its merits and, further;
CONSIDERS that the sanction of a harvest or other use should take into account potential benefits to the conservation of the species' habitat and other species in its
ACCORDINGLY, AWMS RECOMMENDS THAT:
1.Commercial use be restricted to those species with a capacity to sustain a commercially viable use and, where conservation goals can be addressed, these
should be maximised. The goal should be the conservation of ecosystems rather than single species, and the maintenance existing biodiversity, or its increase.
2.The acceptability to the public of specific commercial consumptive uses of wildlife species should be determined through a process of consultation.
3.A management plan always be drawn up to define and demonstrate the criteria raised in point 1 and those that follow. The plan should be subject to periodic
4.The management plan should be developed in consultation with relevant interest groups and be available for public scrutiny. It is highly desirable that programs
be structured in such a way as to return profits to the local area and, wherever possible, should return benefits directly to the landholder.
5.The management plan should be adaptive, based upon firm scientific principles and the best available knowledge, and include ongoing monitoring, reporting
and research to ensure that the use is economically ecologically and culturally sustainable.
6.There be guidelines in place and mechanisms available to enable a discontinuation of the commercial use of wildlife if conservation objectives are
7.The government department directly responsible for conservation be the regulatory body and be entirely independent of the industry.
8.The market place should be allowed to operate as freely as possible within a clearly identified regulatory framework set by the relevant government agency to
ensure that conservation goals are not compromised.
9.There be minimal waste in consumptive use. In the case of non- consumptive use, disturbance to the exploited species and its habitat should be minimised.
10.There be guidelines to ensures humane practices in the use of animals.
11.Care be taken to avoid impact upon 'look-alike' species which may be taken mistakenly or deliberately.