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The National Parks & Wildlife Service (NPWS) on the far north coast of NSW has been involved with issues of flying-fox damage to fruit crops since the early 1980s. Although shooting is an ineffective method of crop protection and is not the one preferred by the majority of fruit growers, several fruit growers continue to use shooting to protect crops. From a field perspective, the current system of licensing on-crop shooting has not been conducive to achieving the nature conservation objectives of NPWS. In particular, compliance with licence conditions is inadequately monitored by NPWS due to insufficient resources, the nature of the activity and constraints on enforcement activities. I offer the following options for managing crop damage by Grey-headed Flying-foxes now that they are listed as threatened. Option A: prohibit culling of flying-foxes on crops. This is the most appropriate approach from a statutory perspective as NPWS has a clear responsibility to protect and conserve flying-foxes. Option B: instigate an amnesty on prosecution, and license unrestricted culling. This option should be considered if NPWS wants to gain a more accurate assessment of crop protection activities and the impacts of these activities on the conservation of the species. Option C: Continue to issue licences to shoot. This option is resource dependent. If resources to effectively regulate licences are not made available, the impacts of crop protection activities on flying-foxes in NSW will continue to be unknown. If Option ‘B’ or ‘C’ are implemented, I recommend a working group be set up to formulate workable strategies to resolve issues of population estimates, research priorities, humane treatment and land use planning.

Eby, P. 1995 The biology and management of flying-foxes in NSW. Species management report number 18. NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, Hurstville, NSW.
Slack, J. 2000 NSW North Coast Experience With Netting. NSW Agriculture and SE NSW Horticultural Producers Association, Benefits of Protective Structures Seminar 4th August 2000.
Waples, K. 2002. Review of the NPWS policy on the mitigation of commercial crop damage by flying-foxes. Pp. 39-46 in Managing the Grey-headed Flying-fox as a Threatened Species in NSW, edited by P. Eby and D. Lunney, Royal Zoological Society of NSW. Mosman, NSW.
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