Malta still flouting EC rules on bird trapping04/03/2012 15:03:39 No limits imposed, no scientific studies undertaken
The EC announcement follows a letter of formal notice sent to the Maltese government in June 2011, giving notice of the initiation of an infringement procedure against Malta for its repeated incorrect application of trapping derogations.
Despite this, Malta proceeded to announce the opening of a song thrush trapping season in autumn 2011. This specified the dates for the trapping season but failed to introduce bag limits or limits to the number of trappers as a means of control. It also failed to specify what additional enforcement measures would be enacted during the season.
More than half the sites were illegally targeting finches
In August 2011, a Maltese government Policy Guidance Document on Hunting and Trapping specified scientific studies need to be prepared to aid the consideration of a derogation. Yet despite this, no studies on song thrush migration were undertaken in 2011.
BirdLife Malta reiterates its stance that a trapping derogation cannot be justified under the EU Birds Directive. In 2011, the song thrush trapping derogation was no less restrictive or selective than previous derogations that warranted Malta a letter of formal notice in June.
Failure to take action following the reasoned opinion by the EC will risk Malta facing the European Court of Justice.