* Natural England halts licensing for Black-headed gull eggs over sustainability concerns.
* Thousands of eggs had been traditionally sold each spring through 'fine dining' establishments.
* Decision to halt 'abhorrent' trade in Hampshire will secure the survival of thousands of amber-listed gulls.
Natural England has confirmed to me today that they will not be issuing any licences for the collection of Black-headed gull eggs this year in Hampshire, the primary area that has traditionally been at the centre of the controversial activity.
Each Spring, the eggs of this amber listed species are collected in their thousands to supply the fine dining trade, under licences issued by Natural England.
But following an evidence review last year, together with pressure from our campaign, it has been decided that the activity was 'no longer sustainable' in the county and that damage to protected areas could not be ruled out, should it continue.
Off The Menu
Hampshire has long been the focus of the abhorrent trade in amber-listed gull eggs, with the county supplying the bulk of eggs to high end restaurants and gourmet grocery stores across the UK.
This latest development means that they should be off most menus, for the time being at least.
Previous licence holders will retain their right to apply for the licences in future but Natural England told me that applications will be assessed annually to reflect the latest evidence.
Yorkshire Licences Remain In Place, For Now
Licences for the taking of gull eggs are still currently issued, in very limited numbers, to individuals in North Yorkshire - the only other area where the practice has traditionally taken place - but the decision to stop all egg collecting in Hampshire will secure the survival of thousands of gulls.
Appalling Trade Coming To An End?
It finally looks like the appalling trade in gull eggs for human consumption might be coming to an end but we must keep up the pressure and keep a close watch on the Yorkshire licences that still remain in place for now....
I hope that this anachronistic practice will soon be a thing of the past.
A huge success for our campaign, and for common sense.
Thank you everyone.
p.s. I've been told that the full licensing data will now be published on the gov.uk website on 30th March, a little later than expected.
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