Bird trapping dates and new legal amendments announced
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The Parliamentary Secretariat for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights said this evening that it has carried out a reform of legislation related to live-capturing (trapping) of birds to strengthen legal controls over this activity.
Legal amendments that will enter into force tomorrow, Tuesday, the 15th of July 2014, contain clear legal definitions of live-capturing activity, live-capturing sites and various other applicable terms, the Secretariat said.
These amendments impose restrictions on the number and configuration of live-capturing stations, the type of equipment that may be used, and methods of live-capturing.
Moreover, the legislation extends legal protection, previously afforded to garigue habitats within Natura 2000 sites, to all protected habitats listed in Schedule I of the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (LN 257 of 2003 as amended) within Natura 2000 sites, as well as to areas outside Natura 2000 sites that support natural habitats, including Scheduled Level 1 and Level 2 Areas of Ecological Importance and Sites of Scientific Importance.
Cumulatively, protected areas where trapping is either prohibited or restricted to registered agricultural land, amount to around a quarter of the national land territory.
The Secretariat said that “the legislation also forbids creation of new live-capturing sites. A rigorous site screening exercise is presently being implemented by the Wild Birds Regulation Unit to ensure that only those sites that conform to the above parameters can be registered.”
Live-capturing activity on any non-registered sites will not be allowed and regulations will be stringently enforced. All registered sites will be plotted on geographic information system, which shall be used for the purposes of enforcement and regulation.
Autumn live-capturing season
Upon assessing recommendations of the Malta Ornis Committee, as well as the relevant scientific, technical and legal advice, the Parliamentary Secretariat said that it will be applying two separate derogations in terms of Regulation 9(1)(f) of the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations (S.L. 504.71) to permit, under strictly supervised conditions, the capture and keeping of seven finch species (Linnet, Goldfinch, Greenfinch, Siskin, Hawfinch, Chaffinch and Serin), as well as Golden Plover and Song Thrush this autumn.
Commenting on the application of finch live-capturing derogation, Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes said that “the live-capturing season would not be a repeat of pre-2009 live-capturing practice, but a very limited and strictly supervised season that will be subject to multiple controls and rigorous enforcement.”
The relevant legislation which describes in detail the parameters and controls pertaining to both derogations will be published in the Government Gazette tomorrow, and will be available for downloading from the Wild Birds Regulation Unit’s website under the following link: http://msdec.gov.mt/en/Pages/WBRU/Legislation–Policy.aspx.
The Secretariat said that the live-capturing season for these species will be open between 20th October and 31st December 2014, both dates included.
Only those persons who are in possession of a general live-capturing license (Carnet de Chasse) and special licenses pertaining to each derogation shall be allowed to practice live-capturing during the season on sites registered with the Wild Birds Regulation Unit. No live-capturing on unregistered sites shall be permitted.
Parameters of the seasons are explained in the table below:Applications for general and special licenses
Applications for general license (Carnet de Chasse Ghall-Insib) and Special Licenses will be received at all MaltaPost branches in Malta and Gozo between the 15th of July and 2nd of August 2014 during normal branch opening hours. No applications will be received after the closing date.
The Secretariat said that applicants who are already in possession of a general live-capturing license (Carnet de Chasse Ghall-Insib) will have the option to apply either for Finches Special Live-capturing License or Golden Plover and Song Thrush Special Live-capturing License or for both special licenses.
Applicants who are not in possession of a Carnet de Chasse 2014-15 are required to use the same application form to apply for the general licence and the special licence(s).
Application requirements pertaining to each type of license are explained in below table:Clarifications can be obtained from the Wild Birds Regulation Unit on Tel: 23886214 / 215 from 9am to 12:30pm during weekdays.