‘We do not want to give false hope,’ Clint Camilleri tells trappers

Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri says government is still evaluating the European Court of Justice’s decision that ruled against Malta’s trapping season for finches

Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri
Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri

Clint Camilleri went to great length in Parliament this evening to emphasise government’s cautious approach in the aftermath of the European court’s decision to stop finch trapping.

The Parliamentary Secretary said Malta was studying the court ruling with the help of legal experts to try and find alternative ways of opening a finch trapping season.

But without elaborating on what alternatives existed, Camilleri insisted he had to be cautious so as “not to give false hope”. He was delivering the adjournment speech in Parliament on Tuesday evening.

The European Court of Justice decision earlier this year was clear enough that finch trapping on the basis of a derogation applied by Malta could not continue, Camilleri said.

“We respect the rule of law and we will definitely not adopt a framework for finch trapping that was rejected by the European Court and this is why I am being cautious because I do not want to give false hope,” he said.

Camilleri said that one of the reasons given by the court was that the manner by which trapping was conducted in Malta was not selective enough and other birds could be caught as well.

“This is one of the reasons why we changed the legal parameters determining the size of nets for the trapping of golden plover and song thrush,” he said.

Trappers have been critical of the bigger mesh size, which allowed birds to escape easily.

All trapping stopped being practiced in 2008 as part of a negotiated exception with the EU. An autumn trapping season for golden plover and song thrush was later opened but soon after the Labour Party came to power in 2013, it also applied a derogation to allow the more contentious trapping for seven finch species.

This had to stop after the European Commission took Malta to the ECJ. The court ruled against Malta.

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