OPM hides behind Ornis to open spring hunting season – Birdlife Malta
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During what BirdLife Malta describes as a farcical meeting, the Ornis Chairman pushed the Committee members to take a series of votes on another spring hunting and trapping season based on FKNK and MEPA’s proposals.
To BirdLife’s amazement, MEPA produced a proposal for a derogation which was not circulated but verbally communicated during the meeting. After a chaotic discussion, based on the votes of the Ornis Chairman, MEPA representatives and an ‘independent’ member, Ornis decided to recommend a spring hunting season between 10 and 30 April and a bag limit of 22,298 for Turtle Dove and 10,837 for Quail.
“To our amazement the FKNK were not satisfied with a three week season and the bag limits but argued for more,” said Dr Andre Raine, BirdLife Malta conservation manager and member of the Ornis Committee.
Following the ECJ ruling last September, the Office of the Prime Minister had said that it would study the court ruling before deciding whether to open another spring hunting season. To date, Ornis Committee has not been given any plan by the OPM for the Committee’s recommendations.
Instead two days before the previous Ornis Committee on 23rd February, the FKNK issued a press release stating that it was passing on a proposal for a spring hunting derogation to the Ornis Committee despite the fact that there was no item for the discussion on spring hunting or FKNK’s proposal on the agenda circulated by the Chairman weeks before.
“FKNK not only forced the Ornis Chairman to change the agenda at the last minute without the consent of the members of the Committee to discuss their proposal during the previous meeting but also pushed Ornis to meet again a week after to vote on their proposal,” continued Dr Raine.
“Today’s Ornis meeting once again showed that decisions are taken at a higher level and the Ornis is being used as a smokescreen. We would like to see how the Office of the Prime Minister will justify risking Malta being taken to the ECJ again for another spring hunting season,” Dr Raine concluded.