(BirdLife Malta, February 21, 2017)
BirdLife Malta insists that there is no scientific justification for a spring hunting season for 2017. Today the Government announced the 2017 spring hunting season which will this year be open only for Quail since there is a moratorium on hunting for Turtle Doves. The Parliamentary Secretariat for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights has chosen to take on board all recommendations made by the Ornis Committee on 1st February, and the season will be open between Saturday 25th March and Friday 14th April between two hours before sunrise and noon. The national hunting bag limit has been set at 5,000 Quail and hunters are not to exceed the daily bag limit of five Quails and the seasonal bag limit of ten Quails per hunter.
As stated when the Ornis Committee recommendation was made, BirdLife Malta reiterates that there is no justification for a spring hunting season as studies commissioned and paid for by the government itself show that in autumn there is a sufficient passage of Quails during the first two months of the hunting season. Over and above this, the conservation value that birds migrating north to their breeding grounds should not be killed remains at the forefront of this position.
It is a pity that once again political promises have been given priority over these scientific facts and important conservation value which both prove why a spring hunting season for Quail is not justified.
BirdLife Malta’s vote during the Ornis meeting held on the 1st of February was the only one against a spring hunting season for 2017. The Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK), the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), and the two independent government-chosen representatives along with the Ornis Committee Chairman all voted in favour.