When food is scarce, flying-foxes will target any readily available food sources, including backyard and commercial orchards of stonefruit, pome fruit (such as apples and pears), lychees, paw paw and coffee.
An independent review was commissioned in 2008 to assess the validity of the NSW licensing policy for the legal harm (including killing) of flying-foxes. This Flying-fox licensing review determined that shooting is ineffective when larger numbers of flying-foxes visit orchards and is a contributing factor to the decline of the species. In response to the review panel's recommendations, the issuing of licences to harm flying-foxes is being phased out.
Between July 2011 and June 2017, the phase out of licences was accompanied by a Flying-fox netting subsidy program to help eligible growers with the cost of installing exclusion netting. This program has now closed. More information is available from Protecting commercial crops from flying-fox damage.
From 1 July 2015, OEH only issues licences to shoot flying-foxes as a crop protection measure where it considers that flying-fox damage to orchards is the result of special circumstances. Licences will be issued to shoot flying-foxes for the duration of the incursion, subject to strict limits.
Refer to the special circumstances for issuing licences to shoot flying-foxes (PDF 42KB).