BirdLife writes to PM over spring hunting dates and huntable species
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Following the recommendation made by the Ornis Committee at last Wednesday’s meeting for a spring hunting season to open between the 1st and the 30th April, BirdLife Malta said that it has today written to Prime Minister Joseph Muscat objecting to any changes to the spring hunting season in terms of dates but also huntable species.
In his letter, BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana objects to any changes to the spring hunting season in terms of dates but also in terms of species for which hunting should be permitted.
He makes it clear that BirdLife Malta opposes any changes to the Quail spring hunting season dates while it can never accept a spring hunting season of any form or duration on the Turtle Dove, which should remain protected all year round.
A vote on lifting the moratorium on the hunting of Turtle Dove in spring will be taken at the next Ornis Committee meeting planned for this coming Tuesday since the committee members did not have access to the full report prior to last Wednesday’s meeting, the NGO said.
BirdLife Malta said that a hunting season for Quail during the dates stated will coincide with the peak migration of the vulnerable Turtle Dove “and this will only serve as a smokescreen for hunters to illegally target the Turtle Dove.”
It argued that the dates being proposed for this spring hunting season “have been moved further backwards when compared to last year (Spring hunting in 2018 was allowed between the 1st and the 21st of April) thus overlapping further onto the period when Turtle Doves migrate over the Maltese Islands.”
BirdLife Malta stated that whilst it does not agree with any hunting during spring, as birds flying towards their breeding grounds should be protected and not killed, “allowing the shooting of Turtle Dove also goes against the direction adopted by the European Union in terms of the all- year-round protection of this declining species.”
“It is a pity that while this country has accepted cultural changes more relevant and important than hunting, in this case the Government remains stuck and tied to the past because of the fear of losing votes,” BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana’s letter to the Prime Minister.
BirdLife said that a copy of the letter, was also sent to Minister Josè Herrera, Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri, EU Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella, BirdLife International CEO Patricia Zurita and IUCN Director General Inger Andersen.