BirdLife Malta this afternoon reacted to the announcement of next month’s spring hunting season , accused the Government of “amending the law at the behest of the hunting lobby to allow hunting on Sundays and public holidays for the first time in seven years.
BLM said that in previous years, hunting on Sundays and public holidays was prohibited by the framework legislation governing spring hunting derogations, which was itself agreed with the European Commission in 2010.
“The government has made several changes to the legislation governing the spring hunting season unilaterally without these changes even being discussed by the Ornis Committee,” said Nicholas Barbara, BirdLife Malta’s Conservation Manager.
The Ornis Committee had recommended the opening of a spring hunting season with the same conditions as last year, said BLM.
It added, “instead, the changes reflect demands made by the FKNK directly to the government and fly in the face of the purpose of the framework legislation which is to try to ensure that the spring hunting derogation is controlled, limited and sustainable.”
BLM pointed out that “Licence application forms, guidelines and FAQs on the spring hunting season are already available to download on the hunting association’s online forum, before these have even been published by the Wild Birds Regulations Unit.”
“The legislation has also been altered to give hunters extra time to apply for licences, removing one of the last remaining restrictions that limited the number of licences issued for hunting in spring.” BirdLife stated, “these changes will not just have a negative impact on the birds, giving hunters an extra day of hunting over last year’s season.”
BLM concluded by saying, “allowing hunting on Sundays and public holidays also deprives every non-hunting Maltese citizen, resident and visiting tourist of the only opportunity they previously had to enjoy the countryside during these three weeks in spring when wildlife on the islands is arguably at its most spectacular, thanks to the migration of hundreds of species of birds on their way to breed in Europe.”