Detailed report on the outcome of 2014 Spring Hunting published
A detailed report, which provides an extensive review of the 2014 spring hunting season has been published on the Wild Birds Regulation Unit’s website.
The report describes decision-making process leading to the application of a spring hunting derogation, analysis of autumn 2013 bag data, an assessment of the present conservation status of Turtle Dove and Quail, the necessary preparatory measures and regulatory controls effected prior to and during the season, scientific assessment of the migratory influxes of these species during the spring season, the reported hunter catches, enforcement efforts in place to ensure strict supervision, statistics pertaining to disclosed hunting-related offences and corresponding enforcement action taken, as well as the legal and other management aspects of relevance.
Commenting on the publication of this report, the Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Roderick Galdes said “The information presented in the report leaves little doubt over Government’s commitment to ensuring adherence, in the strictest manner possible, to the parameters of the limited spring hunting derogation, and to general implementation of the Birds Directive”.
Amongst various actions underscoring this commitment, the report documents implementation of improved verification mechanisms for bag data reporting and collection, specific measures to improve the quality and reliability of autumn bag data (mandatory licence return requirements, penalties for late return, exceptionally high rate of licence return achieved in February 2014, four levels of data extraction quality checks), transparency in decision making (discussions with stakeholders within the Malta Ornis Committee, stepped up communication with hunters and the public, compliance promotion campaign in the media, regular public updates on the progress of enforcement operations, prior consultations with the European Commission), and scientific consideration of the conservation status of the species concerned.
The report also documents drastic increase in legal deterrents and penalties for bird-related crime and hunting violations, drastic increase in enforcement deployment in the field, decline in the number of serious hunting-related violations, particularly reduction in incidence of illegal shooting or trapping of protected species, as well as a mature and robust multi-layered system of controls over hunting activity, including through special licensing requirements, SMS and Carnet de Chasse reporting, restrictions pertaining to time and space and other controls.
“During the limited spring hunting season, the intensity of the enforcement effort, the level of preparation, communication and coordination amongst the different entities was nothing short of exemplary and is simply unprecedented both in Malta and possibly elsewhere in Europe”, Roderick Galdes added.