Government announces new “fixed” atumn hunting season dates
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The Government said in a statement that the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations has recently been amended to include a provision concerning dates and timing of autumn hunting seasons. “This provision departs from the practice adopted in previous years, whereby autumn hunting dates used to be announced very close to the start of the hunting season by means of separate legislation published every year.”
“As a result of new amendments, the autumn hunting season dates are now fixed, subject to the provision which allows the Minister to revise the parameters of the hunting season at any time on the basis of relevant latest scientific advice concerning conservation status and maintenance of the population of bird species at satisfactory level,” the Government said.
The hunting of birds on land is to be permitted between the 1st September and the 31st January, between two hours before sunrise and two hours after sunset on any day between Monday and Saturday, and between two hours before sunrise and 1pm on Sundays and Public Holidays. However the hunting of birds on land between the 15th September and the 7th October (inclusive of both dates) shall not be permitted from Monday to Saturday between 7 pm and two hours before sunrise of the following day.
The hunting of birds at sea is to be permitted between the 1st October and the 31st January during the same times as those applicable to hunting on land, provided that between the 1st October and 7th of October, inclusive of both dates, hunting at sea shall not be permitted from Monday to Saturday between 7 pm and two hours before sunrise of the following day.
The Government said that the above parameters, including the 7pm “curfew” that applies between 15th September and 7th October, are exactly the same as those adopted last year.
Referring to last year’s decision to revise the parameters of the “curfew,” which prior to 2013 used to apply between 15th and 30th September from 3pm onwards, Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes said that “2013 autumn enforcement statistics showed that enforcement measures have worked, and there was a decline in the number of incidents involving illegal targeting of raptors between 15th September and 7th October 2013, in comparison with the same period in previous years.”
He added, “moreover, no such incidents were registered after 7 pm, which showed that the revised “curfew” has had an effect. During the last spring season, the authorities also registered a decline in the number of offences involving illegal targeting of protected birds. This is mainly a result of a major legal reform implemented in October 2013 and in March 2014, whereby penalties for all bird-related offences have been greatly increased, as well as a result of increased enforcement presence in the field and greater awareness of the law.”
Galdes stated, “the government is confident that it is on the right policy track with regards to eradication of abuse of hunting regulations.”
Under revised regulations, anyone caught shooting or trapping protected species listed in Schedules I and IX of the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations will automatically incur penalty comprising of €5,000 fine, and / or imprisonment for one year, as well as permanent revocation or ban on obtaining a hunting or trapping license, and confiscation of corpus delicti.
In case of second or subsequent offence, the applicable penalty will go up to €10,000, confiscation, and / or imprisonment for two years. Penalties for all other irregularities, including for non-declaration of bagged birds in Carnet de Chasse have also been increased.