A long-awaited bill merging the French Agency for Biodiversity with the National Office for Hunting and Wildlife has been voted through the National Assembly.
The bill, which outlines the responsibilities for a combined entity called the French Office for Biodiversity (OFB), was passed by the National Assembly on 24 January. It will be modified and voted on by the Senate in the spring before its final reading in the National Assembly later in the year, when it is likely to become law. Ministers expect the OFB to be operational by the start of 2020.
The French Agency for Biodiversity was created in 2017 by merging four government agencies. The National Office for Hunting and Wildlife, which awards hunting permits and keeps data on wild animals, was excluded from the merger despite a degree of overlap between the biodiversity and wildlife offices’ missions. This was largely thanks to lobbying from hunting organisations, who feared that hunting would become more tightly regulated if the hunting and wildlife office became part of an agency whose main goal was to promote biodiversity.