International seminar on bird trapping to be held in Malta

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International seminar on bird trapping to be held in MaltaLocal and international participants will be meeting in Valletta next Wednesday for an international seminar on trapping organized by the EU LIFE+ Project on Bird Migration and Trapping. The participants include Professor Bruno Massa, from the University of Palermo and Mr. Patrick Wegerdt from the Infringements Unit of the European Commission.

Trapping is not permitted throughout the EU under the Birds Directive. When Malta joined the EU it negotiated a five year phasing out period for the trapping of seven finch species. This period ended in December 2008 and the finch trapping season did not open this year in line with the Accession Treaty agreement.

During the seminar a range of topics will be discussed, including finch migration and populations in the central Mediterranean islands, law enforcement relating to trapping and the legal situation regarding trapping in other EU member states.

One of the topics at the seminar will be the alternatives to bird trapping. A Belgian ex-trapper who shifted his hobby to captive finch breeding when Belgium banned finch trapping, will share his experience with the audience.

“The project does not aim to abolish finch trapping as this is already banned in Malta in line with EU Accession Treaty Agreement. This ban naturally created frustration among Maltese trappers as the reason behind it was not communicated to trappers by the Maltese government during the 5 year phasing out period,” BirdLife Malta Campaigns Coordinator Geoffrey Saliba said.

“The international seminar aims to promote alternative activities to trapping as well as explain the legal and conservation reasons behind this ban. However the FKNK are, once again with their usual irresponsible behavior, issuing statements asking their members not to take part in any dialogue which would help trappers form their own opinion and divert their enthusiasm for birds to other hobbies,” concluded Saliba.

BirdLife Malta invites those interested to attend to book a place by calling the BirdLife office on 21 347 644-5. or visit the website on www.birdlifemalta.org

Photo: Chaffinches pass through Malta in significant numbers during migration periods. Despite having suitable breeding habitat, only a very small number of these birds breed in Malta due to illegal trapping. Photo by Chris Cachia Zammit.

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