Ornis Committee blocks turtle dove spring hunting

FKNK was the only group to vote in favour of lifting the moratorium • The committee also voted to engage in discussions with the European Commission on reopening the season

This comes after reports of illegal poaching in the first week of the Spring season
This comes after reports of illegal poaching in the first week of the Spring season

A proposal put forward by the Federation for Hunting and Conservation (FKNK), Malta’s hunting lobby, to lift the moratorium on the hunting of turtle doves in spring has been voted down by members of the Ornis Committee.

The committee, which is tasked with advising the minister on matters relating to the conservation of wild birds, said in a statement that two votes had been taken on motions put forward by the FKNK.

The first vote, which proposed the reopening of the turtle dove spring hunting season, was rejected by the committee, with representatives from BirdLife and the Environment and Resources voting against. The committee’s chairman as well as its two independent members abstained.

In addition to the opening of the spring hunting season, the committee was also asked to vote on a proposal to reopen discussions with the European Commission “for a long-term solution” on reopening the season in the future to be reached.

BirdLife was the only member of the committee to vote against, with the Environment and Resources Agency abstaining.

Asked for his reaction, BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said the vote showed that the government has appreciated the importance of protecting the turtle dove species, calling on authorities to ensure that laws are abided by.

Turtle doves are considered a “near threatened species” across the EU with population numbers continuing to decrease.

He therefore said that BirdLife was recommending that the quail hunting season be pushed forward, or not opened at all, in order for it not to coincide with the peak in turtle dove migration.  

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