Updated | Number of protected waterbirds shot in Malta is insignifcant, hunting lobby says

The Kaccaturi San Ubertu (KSU) said that in 2018, only 12 Common Pochard and 16 Northern Lapwing were reported shot

The Northern Lapwing
The Northern Lapwing

Updated at 5pm with BirdLife statement

The killing of some protected waterbirds, the hunting of which was suspended by the European Commission, is insignificant, Kaccaturi San Ubertu (KSU) said.

In a statement, KSU said that the European Commission is calling for the suspension of hunting in all EU states of nine waterbird species, two of which, the Common Pochard and the Northern Lapwing, are huntable species in Malta.

"As an idea of Malta’s hunting impact on these two birds, 12 Common Pochard and 16 Northern Lapwing were reported shot according to official records in 2018 with the same number recorded in 2017. These insignificant amounts are constant throughout the years," the statement read.

KSU said that following the moratorium on Turtle dove hunting in all EU states in Autumn based on the species being on the Red List Vunlerable Status by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), this moratorium was "flatly ignored" by all EU states.

"The Commission's call for a hunting suspension has no legal basis and is a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to address any appropriate remedy," KSU said.

It called on the Maltese authorities to conduct appropriate studies that reflect the insignificant impact of Maltese hunters on the two species in question and to "refrain from imposing more unnecessary restrictions" on Maltese hunting.

BirdLife Malta says we could do without hunting for pleasure

BirdLife Malta has released a statement urging the government to follow the recommendations of the European Commission and suspend the hunting of the two waterbird species immediately.

Contradicting KSU's comments on the "insignificant" number of shot Northern Lapwing and Common Pochard, BirdLife Malta said that birds and nature are facing various threats at present.

"Birds and nature are facing various threats all over the world and while efforts to minimise and eliminate all threats should always be considered, hunting for pleasure is surely something that at this day and age we should be able to do without, especially on the most threatened species," the statement read.

BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said that while the hunting lobby "brushed off" the small amount of captured waterbird species, the number KSU quoted could be far off the mark.

"One has to keep in mind that the figures declared by hunters are a fraction of what is really happening. On the other hand, if it is true that only a few birds are caught, then adhering to this request should not affect them much," he said.

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