Maltese hunters peeved off by Canadian advisory for tourists in countryside

Maltese hunters take issue with depiction of problem poaching and hunting on island in travel advisory issued to Canadian tourists

The Maltese hunting federation FKNK dispatched its letter of protest to the Canadian consulate in Malta, complaining at a government travel advisory warning tourists about hunters on the island.

According to the three-paragraph mention in its Malta travel advisory, the Canadian consulate stresses that tourists should be vigilant in rural areas during the hunting season, “as accidents involving stray bullets have occurred”, and hunting areas that are “rarely marked, often overlap with camping areas.”

The FKNK, it seems, is having none of it. “The incorrectness and seriousness of the several ‘warnings’ given to would-be visitors to Malta, regarding our traditional socio-cultural passions of hunting practices, can only be mildly termed as unbelievable!”

The lobby called the allegations “fictitious” and suggested the advisory had “a clear anti-hunting agenda” and influenced by “entities that mean to harm incoming tourism to the Maltese islands, maybe also due to envy because of the excellent reputation our main industry enjoys.”

Even though the consulate was correct in pointing out that hunting seasons are determined by the government in the lead-up to the season – indeed the dates are recommended by the Ornis Committee to the minister for environment – the FKNK felt the statement pointing out the “spring until fall” season have the impression that hunting takes place 24/7 throughout the whole year.

The FKNK also said it was false that hunting areas overlap into camping areas. “No hunting is permitted in designated camping areas. A typical example being the designated camping areas within our hunting reserve at Aħrax in Mellieħa. The marking of hunting areas is not a legal requirement, and furthermore, it should be noted that most rural areas around the islands’ are privately owned, and as such the owner’s privacy should be respected.”

Instead the FKNK accused tourists of disregarding this even when official walking-trails are available.

The FKNK also said it was incorrect of the consulate to use the word ‘bullets’, given that hunters use shotguns with lead-pellets shot as projectiles. “Our track record in terms of safety, despite the small size of our islands which are the most densely populated in Europe, is second to none” the FKNK said.

“We respectfully hope that you can see to the necessary corrections on the website, and please do not hesitate to contact us should you require further clarifications.”