– In an open letter sent to the Prime Minister Dr Muscat, BirdLife Malta insisted that WBRU has tried to discredit BirdLife Malta’s point that there is no scientific justification to permit 5,000 turtle doves to be shot in spring. BirdLife Malta explained that in all the reports WBRU forwarded to the media through a press statement issued on Saturday 23rd April as a reaction to BirdLife Malta’s press conference of the same day, none of them were related to the 2016 spring hunting season conditions. While most of them were simply Ornis Committee meetings’ minutes, the only two scientific reports did not, in anyway, justify WBRU’s decision to permit 5,000 Turte Doves to be shot this year during spring. BirdLife Malta reminded that the Ornis Committee’s decision of the 25th February 2016 only recommended the opening of the spring hunting season but did not decide on quotas. BirdLife Malta was out voted when it voted against the spring hunting season. The Wild Birds Regulation Unit is the governmental body that proposes and enacts legislation concerning hunting seasons. The 5,000 Turtle Dove quota was not decided by Ornis. It is therefore WBRU’s responsability to scientifically justify this decision.
In the same letter BirdLife Malta explained that it is preoccupied with the pro hunting approach that the WBRU work with, leading to the possibility that it could be misleading and misadvising the Government when it comes to serious decisions such as derogating from EU directives. In veiw of this BirdLife Malta is urging the Prime Minister to step in and take a stronger stance in favour of conservation making sure that the Turtle Dove is protected while flying north during spring.
In the absence of a scientific argument, BirdLife Malta noted that the Wild Birds Regulation Unit’s would have acted out of political expediency to appease the hunting organisations, legislating a derogation which it couldn’t scentifically justify. This puts to question the very mission of the Wild Birds Regulation Unit of whether it is there to legislate in favour of the conservation of species, or in favour appeasing the hunters’ demands to still hunt a species which is on its way to extinction.