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Commissioner Cross with Maltese

EU Commissioner Slams Malta on Illegal hunting

Margot Wallstrom, Environment Commissioner has stated that the European Commission is determined to take all the necessary action in line with existing EU legislation and procedures should the hunting regulations in Malta continue to be flouted. In reply to a letter sent by BirdLife Malta in late April, after what they claimed to be a bloodbath in the skies, she advised BirdLife Malta that EU legislation should have been implemented and enforced from the first day of EU membership. BirdLife president Joseph Mangion had also urged the Ms. Wallstr?m to send a monitoring mission to Malta during the bird migration season and called for an immediate end to the spring derogation, which allows the hunting of a number of species in spring.In her letter, Commissioner Wallstrom said she had already specifically drawn the attention of the Maltese authorities to the problem of weak enforcement of the existing legislation on the protection of birds. Additionally she pointed out that a priority for the Maltese Ornis committee in charge of bird protection is to produce a strategy for the enforcement of legislation. The Commission will continue to monitor and report on the progress made by Malta in working towards compliance with obligations stemming from the Birds Directive, Ms. Wallstr?m emphasised. From accession on 1st of May 2004, Malta was required to implement and enforce the Wild Birds Directive, with the exception of the transition period granted to allow the trapping of seven species of finches until December 2008.We hope you will be assured of the Commission`s interest in putting an end to illegal killing of birds in Malta and also our interest that all EU countries respect EU legislation, Ms Wallstrom wrote. Only last Saturday, the police`s administrative law enforcement unit intercepted a hunter who tried to gun down a Spoonbill at Salina. BirdLife said the police were doing their utmost to control the situation but in the prevailing circumstances they were overwhelmed by the extent of the illegal hunting.

NBThis news is available courtesy of BirdLife Malta and the Times of Malta.

4th July 2014