Spring hunting to go ahead but those over 65 and vulnerable people have licence withheld

Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri says police and hunting marshals will enforce public health regulations along with hunting laws • Measure to withhold licences for over 65s and vulnerable people in line with public health rules

Spring hunting to go ahead but the licence of those over 65 and the vulnerable have been withheld
Spring hunting to go ahead but the licence of those over 65 and the vulnerable have been withheld

Spring hunting will go ahead between 10 April and 30 April but hunters considered vulnerable and those over 65 have been barred from practicing their hobby.

The decision was communicated by the government on Sunday evening. Cabinet accepted the recommendation made by the Ornis Committee to open a limited spring hunting season for quail.

There was mounting controversy over the decision in the wake of recommendations by the Public Health Superintendent for people to stay inside to limit the spread of the coronavirus. Concerns were also raised on enforcement, given the police's additional duties to ensure quarantine rules are obeyed.

READ ALSO: Several ministers were left ‘uneasy’ with the decision, feeling it could have been avoided

The government said the special spring hunting licence for hunters aged 65 and over and those considered to be vulnerable has been withheld in line with public health rules to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

Hunting can take place from two hours before sunrise until midday on each and every day, including Sundays and public holidays.

The national quota is set at 5,000 quail.

Asked about concerns over law enforcement, given that the police were also involved in checking on people in quarantine and other public health duties, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said on Sunday evening that the police had to be prepared for any eventuality.

“Hunting laws will be enforced, as will all public health regulations such as no groups of more than three and social distancing,” Camilleri said.

He was speaking during a press conference alongside Health Minister Chris Fearne and Public Health Superintendent Charmaine Gauci on Sunday evening, during which it was annouced that the Hal Far migrant open centre was placed under quarantine.

Camilleri said police patrols will be carried out and hunting marshals will be engaged to ensure that all laws are obeyed.

He warned that public health rules should be obeyed by hunters and insisted that those over 65, the vulnerable and hunters who may be in quarantine will not be able to go out hunting.

“The decision to allow a spring hunting season should not be used as an excuse to break the law,” Camilleri warned, adding that abuse will not be tolerated.

The government decision for the hunting season to go ahead applies unless any other decision is taken by the health authorities, which would take precedence.

More in National