On the motion of the Environmental Committee as the leading committee, the first reading of the Bill on Amendments to the Hunting Act and the Administrative Co-operation Act (458 SE), initiated by the same Committee, was concluded. The amendments to the Hunting Act concern future organisation of hunting. The requirement of the minimum amount of hunting grounds given to the disposal of the state is eliminated from the Hunting Act, the conditions for application for the permit in proof of the right to use a hunting district are specified and the right of the Minister of the Environment to delegate the organisational and executive functions related to hunting activities to the third sector is provided. The proposed amendments enable to start reducing the role of the state in the sphere of hunting, and reorganisation of the hunting districts in the administration of the State Forest Management Centre. In the first stage, the share of hunting grounds will be reduced to circa 150 000 hectares instead of the current 380 000 hectares, mainly on account of the release of private lands. The current commercial hunting on private lands which is organised on behalf of the state hinders the opportunities of local people (including owners of land) to participate in hunting activities. The granting of hunting grounds to the use of private hunting organisations will increase social cohesion of the specified regions, and reduction of commercial activities will increase the ecological role of hunting and reduce the conflict with forestry and agricultural purposes. The Bill was sent to the second reading.
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