In reaction to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s call for a moratorium on spring hunting, BirdLife Malta has today called on the Ornis Chairman to convey urgently the Ornis Committee to discuss the future of spring hunting in Malta.
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature has yesterday announced on its website that it has written a letter to EU Commissioner for Environment and Maritime Affairs Karmenu Vella, asking the Commissioner to impose a moratorium on spring hunting in Malta. IUCN stated that given the unfavourable conservation status of the declining Turtle Dove, the Commission is being advised not to accept any derogations allowing the hunting of the species in spring, and it should secure a moratorium on spring hunting in Malta including the current season of 2016. The moratorium should be maintained until the Turtle Dove shows signs of recovery and until its hunting can be proven to be sustainable.
BirdLife Malta has during the last Ornis Committee meeting of the 20th April requested the Wild Birds Regulation Unit to present to the Committee its scientific assessment justifying how 5,000 Turtle Dove could be hunted in spring 2016. To date the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, which enacted legislation allowing a spring hunting season in 2016 following consultation with hunting organisations, has failed to submit any scientific justifications. Yesterday, BirdLife Malta filed an open letter with Prime Minister Joseph Muscat raising its concerns about the lack of scientific justifications by the WBRU, after it proposed to government the opening of a 2-week spring hunting season for 5,000 Turtle Doves between circa 10,000 licensed hunters. The conditions of the season are being questioned by the European Commission.
BirdLife Malta is calling on the Ornis Committee to discuss the implications of this request for a moratorium to the European Commission, and ultimately the Maltese government. The call from the world-wide authority on the conservation of species cannot be ignored, especially in consideration that the authority is partners with both BirdLife International and FACE, the European Federation of Hunting Organisations which Malta’s hunting representative on the Ornis Committee, the FKNK, is affiliated with.