BirdLife Malta has filed a judicial protest over the government’s decision to open this year’s spring hunting season, arguing that this goes against minimum criteria and standards stipulated by law.
“The law stipulates that the government can only open a spring hunting season – which is a derogation from the European Birds Directive – if the autumn hunting season was not a satisfactory alternative,” the NGO said in a statement.
“This means that a spring hunting season on Common Quail (Summiena) is dependent on the amount of quail hunted during the previous autumn. In view of this, the government obliges all hunters to declare their catches, and hunters are legally obliged to declare in full, all their hunted birds. It was obvious this motivated hunters not to declare their catches and over time, the participation level started dwindling.”
BirdLife said that this situation had been tolerated by both hunting organisations and the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, who had done nothing to ensure that the rules are adhered to, in order for this obligation to be met.
BirdLife said that in 2020, only 292 hunters – 2.7% of the 10,675 licensed hunters in Malta – had participated in the carnet de chasse, adding that such a low level of participation, meant that there wasn’t enough data for the government to reach a decision on opening a spring hunting season.
“One notices that Prime Minister Robert Abela continues to appease the hunting lobby. Yet we remind him that he is still responsible to ensure that the law is respected,” BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said.
“The lack of participation by hunters in declaring their catches is once again a symptom of the wrong message government is transmitting to hunting organisations who have no control over their members.”
Do you believe that only 292 hunters took part in the autumn hunting season?