Efforts to reach a compromise between wildfowlers and conservationists over shooting in Findhorn Bay have failed.
It was understood that both sides had come to a voluntary agreement ahead of the start of the new wildfowling season on September 1.
However, it has emerged that only local wildfowlers were party to the agreement and that the British Association of Shooting and Conservation (BASC) is refusing to recognise the agreement.
Moray Council acted as mediators after conservationists lodged a petition seeking a ban on wildfowling in the bay, which is a local nature reserve and a staging post for thousands of migrating geese and ducks.
Local wildfowlers reacted by submitting a counter-petition to the council calling for their legal rights to be protected.
In June the council facilitated a meeting of all interested parties with a view to reaching a compromise and it appeared that objective had been achieved when representatives of local wildfowling interests and those seeking a ban on wildfowling indicated they had reached a mutually acceptable compromise.
As well as local guns, the bay attracts wildfowlers from outwith the area and wildfowling’s national governing body, the BASC, has said that it had not been represented at the mediation meeting and would not honour the local agreement.
It has said it will be advisingmembers that the status quo prevails as far as wildfowling in Findhorn Bay is concerned and that it does not support the compromise agreement.
Councillor John Cowe, who chairs the council’s economic development and infrastructure services committee and also chaired the mediation meeting, has written to all parties explaining the position as it currently stands.
He said: “It is unfortunate it has taken so long to get to this position, especially recognising that the season starts on September 1.
“It should be recognised that, as regards this part of the process, the council had only a mediation role and it was up to the various parties involved to secure support to enable a voluntary agreement to work effectively.”
A report will now go to the next meeting of the economic development and infrastructure services committee meeting later in September to decide on the next course of action.
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 95,510 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.