Hunters have no title to Miżieb and l-Aħrax tal-Mellieha, Lands Authority says

Lands Authority confirms that the FKNK has no title to Miżieb and l-Aħrax tal-Mellieha, independent candidate Arnold Cassola says 

The Lands Authority has confirmed that the Federazzjoni Kaċċaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti (FKNK) has no title to Miżieb and l-Aħrax tal-Mellieha, the independent candidate Arnold Cassola said.

Cassola said that in an answer to a Freedom of Information request, the authority said that there was to date “no agreement/concession/lease/emphyteusis/title of ownership/encroachment/possession/mere tolerance management and/or services and/or consultancy agreement has been entered into between the GPD and/or the Lands Authority and the FKNK".”

READ MORECabinet asked to consider turning over Miżieb and l-Aħrax to hunters

Cassola said the proposal by “a certain minister to hand over such lands for management by FKNK” served as a confirmation that the public’s right to open spaces was not important to the government and that “only bullies rule.”

In April, MaltaToday revealed that Prime Minister Robert Abela had resurrected a proposal to hand over l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa, and Miżieb to the FKNK under a formal management agreement. The proposal was brought up during a Cabinet meeting and met no resistance.

There is a long-standing dispute between hunters and environmentalists over whether the Miżieb woodland is a legal hunting reserve. In 2017, Magistrate Charmaine Galea today acquitted a BirdLife Malta volunteer, Nimrod Mifsud, of criminal charges of trespassing in Miżieb, brought by the police in 2014 following a report by the hunting lobby FKNK against Mifsud and the BBC naturalist Chris Packham, whom he accompanied to Mizieb for part of his documentary series on spring hunting in Malta.

The FKNK claims Mizieb is a legal hunting reserve, by virtue of an agreement signed by former Prime Minister Karmenu Mifsud Bonnici, which placed the woodland under the “administration” of the FKNK.