BirdLife slams PN, PL
BirdLife Malta today slammed the government and the opposition for vying for hunters’ votes while disregarding the overwhelming majority’s disagreement with the ongoing infringements from the EU nature laws.
According to BirdLife, the government is considering another derogation to allow trapping for two species, Song Thrush and Golden Plover, in the current hunting season while the Labour Party is also reportedly courting the hunting lobby and considering relaxing hunting regulations to meet hunters’ and trappers’ demands.
Trapping is banned in the EU and Malta has already received two formal warnings from the European Commission before the possibility of being taken to the European Court of Justice, they added.
On its accession to the EU in 2004, Malta pledged to comply with the EU Birds Directive, which strictly limits the hunting of wild birds according to the conservation status of each species, this based on stringent scientific data about the population levels, trends and distribution. The Directive also specifically prohibits hunting in spring and bird trapping, due to the disproportionately high impact of these activities, which are extremely efficient means of reducing population levels.
The EU allowed Malta a 5-year grace period in which to phase out the practice of finch trapping after it joined the EU, however Malta has persisted in opening an autumn trapping season every year since 2009, which has served as a loophole to allow illegal trapping of finches and other protected species to continue.
“Both parties appear to be willing to sacrifice the environment as well as risking EU sanctions in their efforts to secure a majority in the forthcoming general elections,” said Joseph Mangion, BirdLife Malta President.
“Malta’s environmental protection featured high on the agenda prior to the last election. Yet, today the country has one of the worst environmental records in the EU with no vision for a sustainable future coming from either from the government or the opposition.”