Following legal action, BirdLife Malta will only communicate with Environment Minister on hunting and trapping

February 25, 2020 9:50 am

The future of the conservation of wild birds, and indirectly the hunting and trapping situation in Malta, remain in limbo following the decision made by Prime Minister Robert Abela to place the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) under the remit of Minister for Gozo Clint Camilleri. BirdLife Malta has not only described this decision as diabolical but also shown how it is illegal within the present legislation, and this led us to present a judicial protest against the Government.

BirdLife Malta officials briefing the press following the presentation of the judicial protest on 29th January (Photo by BirdLife Malta)

To date the Government has yet to justify this decision not only on moral grounds but now also on legal grounds. In these circumstances BirdLife Malta has formally written to Environment Minister Aaron Farrugia to inform him that as stipulated by Malta’s environment laws it will only be recognising and communicating with him in regard to any issue related to the conservation of wild birds’ regulations, including hunting and trapping.

BirdLife Malta reminds that the Environment Protection Act and the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations legally recognise the Minister for the Environment as the only minister responsible for environment protection and for any authority relating to it. Moreover, both Malta’s national environment law and the subsidiary legislation which regulates bird protection – and as such, WBRU itself – also state, black on white, that the same unit should be established within the ministry responsible for the environment.

As such, any decisions or actions to be taken by WBRU and eventually the Ornis Committee – when these are set up – including appointments and legislations not under the Minister for the Environment, should be considered illegitimate.

Minister for the Environment Aaron Farrugia should not rubber stamp Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri’s decisions on hunting and trapping

In view of the hunting and trapping seasons which have just come to a close in January and the upcoming seasons, in particular the spring hunting season for this year, the ongoing situation has brought uncertainty on the way forward as regards the manner in which future seasons should be regulated.

BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana stated: “We hope to see this resolved in the most logical way, that of having WBRU and the Conservation of Wild Birds Regulations remain under the Minister for the Environment. We are optimistic and in the meantime we hope that Minister for the Environment Aaron Farrugia is not used as a rubber stamp for Hon. Clint Camilleri’s decisions”.

Read the Maltese version of the press release here.