FKNK, Gozo ministry agree on best practices for turtle-dove hunting, songbird research project

The hunting lobby met with the Gozo ministry and agreed on how turtle-dove hunting and the songbird research project can be carried out safely and practically by Malta’s hunters and trappers 

Hunting lobby group FKNK and Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri have agreed on how the turtle-dove hunting season, and a songbird research project, can be practiced by Malta’s hunters and trappers in a legal and practical manner. 

In a statement, the FKNK said it met with the minister twice this week, with one meeting held with other ministerial officials and workers from the Wild Birds Regulation Unit.  

ℹIL-MINISTRU CLINT CAMILLERI F’LAQGĦAT MALL-FKNK Din il-ġimgħa l-Onorevoli Ministru Clint Camilleri kellu żewġ laqgħat...

Posted by Federazzjoni Kaccaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti - FKNK on Sunday, August 28, 2022

The FKNK said the two sides discussed the turtle-dove hunting season at length, as well as an autumn research project on songbirds. 

Both sides eventually reached an agreement on how these two practices will be regulated and carried out legally. “The data collected by hunters and trappers during these seasons will be evidence of the sustainability of the two practices,” the lobby group said. 

Earlier this week, BirdLife Malta wrote an open letter to Prime Minister Robert Abela asking for the autumn hunting season to be opened after 15 October. 

The bird conservation group’s request came after 40 black kites, a protected species, were killed in two days. 

BirdLife said that if the Prime Minister could not provide assurances that illegal hunting would be fought with strict enforcement and better laws, then hunting seasons had no place in Malta. “The Prime Minister should immediately condemn what has happened,” BirdLife said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, the European Commission referred Malta to the European Union Court of Justice for authorising the trapping of finches for research purposes. 

The trapping of live migratory birds is banned across the EU, but member states may put forward a derogation so long that it is used “judiciously, with small numbers and under strict supervision.” 

It said that Malta failed to apply the Birds Directive, a general system of protection for wild birds that allows derogations on hunting and trapping, subject to strict conditions. 

Indeed, the Maltese government defied Brussels and continued to allow trappers to capture protected songbirds as part of a research project collecting scientific data on the birds’ migration.