Second referendum ‘last resort’, says BirdLife as FKNK calls them ‘sore losers’

During an interview on RTK’s ‘Newsbook’, Mark Sultana said that a referendum on spring hunting should be the last resort

Another referendum should be the last resort. The first resort at the moment is that the Government considers its own studies and the scientific evidence it has which show that there are enough reasons not to open a spring hunting season, BirdLife Malta said today.

It was reacting to a press statement by hunting federation FKNK who accused the green NGO of being “squanderers, disrespectful and sore losers”.

FKNK seems to have taken umbrage at the €150,000 government grant to BirdLife, which is now managing the saltpans at Salini. “The land area comprises 897,000 square meters, thus bringing the total of Maltese land area which BLM posses just on their own to 2,696,000 square meters,” FKNK said. 

“It is, nonetheless outrageous and irresponsible, of BLM to propose the squandering of another €6,000,000 of Maltese public funds to hold another referendum simply because they do not accept the decision of the majority of Maltese and Gozitan citizens.”

The Salina Reserve will not only be BirdLife Malta’s largest land management project but also the largest nature reserve in Malta with a history linked to salt production. The aim is to allow the public to enjoy new bird species that are attracted to the area and maybe even breed there.

But following recent comments made by BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana, the FKNK accused them of being arrogant:  “BLM's further arrogant disrespect of Maltese and EU Institutions is also amply evident because in 2003, when Malta's EU membership had already been secured, even BLM had accepted the continuance of spring hunting. At a press conference, they had then requested the government to limit spring hunting to only two species, the quail and the turtle dove.”

But on its part, BirdLife Malta said that the government should understand its responsibility to take environmental decisions which are not dictated by political promises but ones which are based on scientific facts.

During an interview on RTK’s ‘Newsbook’, Sultana said that a referendum on spring hunting should be the last resort: “BirdLife Malta’s opinion right now is that any Maltese government – today and in the future – has enough scientific studies and solid reasons which justify the closure of the spring hunting season.”

BirdLife Malta insisted that in today’s circumstances, where the Turtle Dove cannot be hunted anymore in spring, the hunting of Quail cannot be justified with the argument that there isn’t a sufficient passage of Quail during the autumn.

“This is due to the fact that study after study, carried out year after year, commissioned and paid for by the Government itself show that there is a sufficient passage of Quail during autumn which proves one cannot justify hunting for this species also in spring.”

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