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BirdLife Malta calls on Karmenu Vella to take immediate action on illegal trapping season

The Maltese government has (unsurprisingly) decided to open the bird trapping season next week despite calls from the European Commission, and a signed letter by 90 MEPs to ban the senseless practice. The following is a statement by BirdLife Malta in reaction to government’s decision to open the 2015 autumn trapping season.

In a statement issued today in reaction to government’s publication of two legal notices opening a trapping season for finches and another for golden plover and song thrush, Birdlife Malta said it is very disappointed at the Government’s decision and insistence of opening another trapping season when the European Court of Justice will soon be deliberating over Malta’s defiance. BLM has called on Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella to take immediate action to safeguard migrating wild birds.

BLM said the Government’s defiance is an indication of the lack of appreciation in protecting migrating birds, and of its political commitment to respect the treaty signed by Malta when it became an EU member state. A treaty which explicitly banned bird trapping after 2008.

“Our main concern is that many wild birds are going to be caught and taken from nature for no justifiable reason other than a recreational need. This is a considerable impact on wildlife and that is the reason why bird trapping is illegal under such directives. We hereby call on the Government not to open the trapping season to safeguard and protect migrating birds. In view that Malta would now be taken to the European Court of Justice, we hope the government would retract from opening the season till the ECJ ruling is announced.” said BLM Conservation Manager Nicholas Barbara.

BirdLife Malta concluded that the EU Commissioner for Environment Commissioner, Mr Karmenu Vella, has no option but to initiate interim measures against the Maltese Government, in order to prevent the indiscriminate and unjustified catching of thousands of birds over the coming three months and safeguard their protection. Last year over 8,000 trapping sites were activated allowing the catch of over 33,000 birds through two derogations. Conditions published in legal notices yesterday indicate similar conditions are being applied.

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