Re-instating limited finch capturing – FKNK
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The autumn of 2009 will go down in history as the first autumn, since time immemorial, that the Maltese trapper was not permitted to pursue the traditional socio-cultural passion of finch- capturing.
The Federation for Hunting and Conservation – Malta (FKNK) subsequently carried out a survey amongst its 4,000-odd licensed member-trappers. The survey was extended to cover, also, several others who had been prevented from obtaining a trapping licence because of a moratorium on the issue of new licences. This moratorium was imposed from the 1st August 2002 up to end December 2007. Despite the end of such a moratorium, no licences have been issued, to-date, by the local authorities. In the survey the Federation asked the finch trappers whether they saw any alternative solution to finch-capturing that could satisfy them.
1.43% replied that they had lost all faith in ever again being permitted to capture finches in the traditional manner and, only for that reason, had been experimenting with alternatives, unsuccessfully. 98.57% replied they were convinced that, for them, alternatives for finch-capturing simply do not exist. The overwhelming majority also believe that they have a civil right to continue practicing their passion, provided that government has the political will to correctly apply a derogation from the EU ‘Birds’ Directive to permit limited finch-capturing.
The abolition of finch-capturing may have resulted in a minimal increase in finch sightings this winter. FKNK members reported seeing up to three linnets and eight chaffinches in an area where normally only single individuals are sighted. This was reported in the media as a 300% and 800% increase, when the actual number of finches remains negligibly poor. Significantly, despite the fact that finch migration over the Maltese Islands trickles on until early February, the usual negligible numbers of finches have wintered.
This is proof, if any were needed, that the finch-capturing prohibition currently in force is merely a punitive measure misguidedly and unnecessarily taken against Maltese finch trappers. The Federation will therefore, continue with its efforts to redress the balance.