Project on invasive alien predators: Summer cottage owners to catch invasive alien predator species

Project on invasive alien predators: Summer cottage owners to catch invasive alien predator species

Project on invasive alien predators
There are municipalities in Finland the population of which at least doubles during the midsummer holiday season and during weekends. The most popular municipalities with a large number of holiday homes are those located on the shores of large lake areas. On such shores, the mink, classified as an invasive alien predator, also thrives.

There are approximately 510,000 summer cottages in Finland, with the annual mink catch being around 50,000 in 2020. If every tenth Finnish cottage dwellers caught one mink a year, the annual mink catch would double.

The hunting legislation and the Alien Species Act and Decree were modified in 2019 so that catching mink and raccoon dogs no longer requires a completed hunter’s examination or a paid game management fee. However, catching invasive alien predators must be authorised by the landowner or the holder of the hunting licence and must be carried out ethically. According to the updated legislation, cottage residents can also catch mink and raccoon dogs. 

With the help of funding from the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, the Finnish Hunters' Association is launching a two-year project in 2021 aimed at encouraging cottage owners to catch invasive alien predators either by themselves or to ask for help from hunters in the area. The raccoon dog and mink, classified as invasive alien species, threaten Finland's nature biodiversity.

The aim of the project is to make the residents of the cottages understand the detrimental effect of alien predators on the native bird populations and to see their own important role in controlling alien predator populations, which in particular, helps to improve waterfowl populations. Understanding and knowledge is important to reduce the alien small predator populations.

The project areas have been selected from among waterways that are important for the reproduction of waterfowl and that have settlement along their shores.

The fact that Finns spend time at their summer cottages plays an important role in their maintaining a relationship with the natural environment. At their summer cottages, many people experience nature and follow in a way different from the normal. Finnish summer cottages are usually modest, quite dissimilar to the villa culture of other countries which have longer and more upper-class traditions.