Lands Authority formulating agreement which would see Miżieb and l-Aħrax turned over to hunters during season

A source said that while no agreement has yet been reached, exclusivity would only be granted during the hunting season

The Aħrax reserve is Mellieħa is administered by the FKNK (Photo: FKNK/Facebook)
The Aħrax reserve is Mellieħa is administered by the FKNK (Photo: FKNK/Facebook)

The Lands Authority is formulating an agreement for hunting grounds in l-Aħrax tal-Mellieħa, and Miżieb to be turned over to hunters under a formal management agreement.

A government source told MaltaToday that while no final agreement has been reached, discussions remain ongoing. The source added that the agreement would be formulated on the basis that exclusivity to hunters would only be allowed during hunting seasons.

In April, the proposal was floated during a Cabinet meeting, with no resistance being raised over the suggestion.

A government source had said the proposal was meant to formalise claims the main hunting lobby FKNK has over the lands, which they occupy during the spring and autumn hunting seasons.

There is a long-standing dispute between hunters and environmentalists over whether the Miżieb woodland is a legal hunting reserve.

In 2017, Magistrate Charmaine Galea acquitted a BirdLife Malta volunteer, Nimrod Mifsud, of criminal charges of trespassing in Miżieb, brought by the police in 2014 following a report by the hunting lobby FKNK. Mifsud had accompanied BBC naturalist Chris Packham to Miżieb for part of his documentary series on spring hunting in Malta.

Last week, a group of environmental NGOs formed a coalition in defence of open spaces, which looks to preserve access to public open spaces.

Spazji Miftuħa was formed in response to a proposal by government to restrict access to the two woodland areas of l-Aħrax and il-Miżieb to the hunting lobby.

The coalition is also asking the general public to give its opinions about the proposed agreement on Aħrax and Miżieb by signing a petition and filling in a brief survey. In just a few days the petition has gained over 7,600 signatures.

READ ALSO: NGOs launch coalition in defence of open spaces and to oppose Miżieb takeover