“The introduction of the game damage assessment protocol may lead to balanced wildlife management and place the relationship of farmers and game managers within a legislative framework”, Minister of State for Land Affairs Márton Bitay from the Ministry of Agriculture said at a professional conference during the 26th FeHoVa International Exhibition for Fishing, Hunting and Arms.

At the conference on topical issues of wildlife management organised by the Hungarian Chamber of Agriculture (NAK), the Minister of State said game management is functioning well, and there is harmony between farmers and game managers, or at least the conflicts that had undermined their relationship have eased thanks to the new legislation adopted in recent years.

Mr. Bitay is confident that the preparation and legislative background of the game damage assessment protocol will make it possible for farmers and people with hunting rights to settle any disputes within an adequately regulated problem resolution system, instead of making them a legal matter based on scattered expert opinions.

NAK President Balázs Győrffy briefed the audience on the fact that the game damage assessment protocol is being created with a view to providing more uniform methods nationally for determining the quantity of game damage in agriculture and forestry, the size of the damaged area and the financial value of the damage. The protocol is being drawn up by hunting organisations and scientific workshops of related special fields, with the professional contribution and financing of the Chamber of Agriculture, he added.

According to the President of the NAK, it is of special importance for all stakeholders to concentrate on preventing game damage in order to reduce and manage the relevant tensions. Results within this field can only be achieved via continuous cooperation and the mutual exchange of information, which under the new Act on Hunting is the duty of both parties. Village stewards and the network of district chief hunters will be of help in this regard. In his opinion, if game damage cannot be prevented, the crucial point is to conduct game damage assessment in an objective manner that is reassuring for all parties.

President of the National Chamber of Hungarian Hunters (OMVK) László Jámbor said that, in addition to interest representation, the Chamber also deals with significant professional issues and, with the establishment of the wildlife management fund, this sector has also acquired funding. The Chamber of Hunters took part in settling affairs relating to the treatment of African swine fever, and also aspires to reinforce bilateral relations with neighbouring countries.