A motion to set a deadline of five to ten years for culling roaming wild goats in Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba failed to muster sufficient support in the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament during the voting on Thursday.
During a plenary meeting on December 8, Members of Parliament (MPs) Tjeerd de Groot of the Democratic Party D66, also on behalf of Laura Bromet of the green left party GroenLinks, submitted a motion in which the Dutch government was requested to have the issue of roaming goats and other livestock in St. Eustatius and Saba resolved in 2025 and in Bonaire, five years after that, in 2030.
De Groot and Bromet argued in their motion that tens of thousands of animals roamed on the three islands, which ate all vegetation and prevented tree and shrub seedlings and new grass from growing.
The motion stated that while progress was being made in St. Eustatius and Saba, where the local government approved a goat control programme, currently in the early stage of execution, things were barely moving in Bonaire. All three islands have national parks where the vegetation is threatened and the soil eroding.
The motion asked the Dutch government to have “all roaming wild grazing animals and invasive species which threaten flora and fauna under control” in St. Eustatius and Saba in 2025 and in Bonaire in 2030.
Minister of Agriculture, Nature Management and Food Quality LNV Carola Schouten called it a “sympathetic proposal,” but advised against the motion, because she said she could not promise to make this happen in the motion’s suggested time-frame.
“I really can’t make that true. We are working on it, together with the public entities to reduce the goat issue. I will discuss the content of the motion with the islands, but it is really too complicated to tie a year to it,” said Schouten, whose LNV Ministry is funding the goat control programmes.
There was not enough support in the Second Chamber for the roaming goats and other livestock motion. There was sufficient support for two other motions of De Groot and Bromet that dealt with the Caribbean Netherlands nature.
One motion asked the Dutch government to set the objectives by mid-2021 for the achieving of a certain degree of coral coverage of the reefs in the seas surrounding the Caribbean Netherlands.
The motion stated that if no actions were taken, the coral reefs could be gone in five to 10 years. In that regard, MPs de Groot and Bromet considered the date to set the goals for coral coverage in 2024 too late. “By 2030 the coral will be gone. Priority needs to be given to this,” said De Groot.
Minister Schouten had advised against this motion, stating that she was looking at ways to accelerate, but doubted whether it would be possible to determine the coral coverage in 2021. “I am giving this priority. But I do not know if it will be technically possible to have this done before 2024,” she said.
The minister was more positive about the motion presented by Bromet, with the support of De Groot, asking the Dutch government to keep the Second Chamber informed about the execution agendas of the individual islands with regard to the Caribbean Netherlands Nature and Environment Policy Plan.
According to Bromet, the plan contained “ambitious goals” for 2030, but provided few details about the manner in which the set objectives will be achieved. In the motion, concern was expressed that nature in the Caribbean Netherlands had been in bad shape for many years.
The Daily Herald.