MEPs demand action on illegal bird hunting activities

Members of the European Parliament urge European Commission to act against Malta’s ‘structural breaches’ of the EU Birds Directive

MEPs express concerns over widespread illegal use of electronic bird callers
MEPs express concerns over widespread illegal use of electronic bird callers

Several Members of European Parliament are demanding the European Commission to take action over illegal hunting activities and structural breaches of the EU Birds Directive in Malta during this year's spring hunting season.

Specifically, the MEPs expressed their concerns over the widespread illegal use of electronic bird callers and clap nets. They were equally astounded by the fact that several protected bird species, like the marsh harrier and the hoopoe, have been gunned down illegally during the past two weeks.

Dutch MEP Anja Hazekamp, who visited Malta during the start of this year’s hunting season commented: “Malta is an exceptionally beautiful Mediterranean island. The island would be even prettier if spring hunting would be prohibited for once and for all. ”

The MEPs have submitted their requests to the European Commission by means of written questions.

Earlier this week, BirdLife Malta said that eight protected birds were illegally gunned down in various locations around Malta and Gozo in the first week of this year’s spring hunting season.

The 2017 spring hunting season opened on 25 March and will run until 14 April. Whilst only quail can be hunted, BirdLife Malta said that illegally-shot birds included a common swift, a barn swallow and hoopoes.
“More than half of these illegally shot birds were retrieved just over the last weekend alone from different parts of Malta and Gozo,” BirdLife said.
The birds were found in locations around both islands, namely l-Ahrax tal-Mellieha, Qormi, Siggiewi, Marsa, Selmun and Laferla Cross in Malta, and Ghasri in Gozo.

It argued that the fact that all the shot birds were retrieved from different localities indicated that illegalities were widespread across the country.

“One needs to keep in mind that these retrieved injured birds represent only a fraction of the illegal hunting which is actually happening in the countryside,” BirdLife added.

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