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The Government published a Legal Notice providing for a derogation for a 2012 Spring Hunting Season for Turtledove and Quail (LN108/12).

Government makes reference to the Conservation of Wild Birds (Framework for Allowing a Derogation Opening a Spring Hunting Season for Turtle Dove and Quail) Regulations LN 221 of 2010 (as amended), and to the advice received from the Ornis Committee dated 20th March 2012, by virtue of which the Ornis Committee recommended the opening of a hunting season for Spring 2012 for a maximum number of birds that is not to exceed 11,000 turtle doves and 5000 common quails.

Having considered the said recommendation made by the Ornis Committee, and the legal provisions regulating hunting, as well as the Policy Guidelines for Hunting and Trapping of Birds in Malta, the Government has today published LN 108 of 2012 (Declaration on a Derogation for a 2012 Spring Hunting Season for Turtledove and Quail Regulations). By means of this Legal Notice, the 2012 Spring Hunting season shall be open between Thursday, 12th April 2012 and Monday, 30th April 2012, both days included.

In line with recommendation submitted by the Ornis Committee, and in accordance with the provisions of Annex 1 of LN 221 of 2010, after taking into account data pertaining to Autumn 2011 hunting season, the national hunting bag limit for Spring 2012 has been established at not more than 11,000 turtle doves and 5,000 quails. The season shall be terminated immediately by means of a press release should this national bag limit be reached before the 30th April 2012.

The Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA) shall be issuing a Special Licence for the Hunting in Spring 2012 to all eligible applicants as per procedure established by law. This non-transferrable licence would permit the hunting of two bird species only, namely turtle dove and quail. Only the holders of a valid carnet de chasse (licence to hunt birds) shall be eligible for the Special Licence for the Hunting in Spring 2012. Eligible persons may apply for this Special Licence between the 4th April and 5th April at any MaltaPost branch in Malta and Gozo, during the normal business hours. Upon submission of the application form, the applicant is required to pay €50 Special Licence fee and must present his or her Identity Card and Carnet de Chasse booklet for 2012-2013.

Compliance with the relevant provisions of the Special Licence during the season shall be monitored and supervised by Police and hunting marshals appointed by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority. An independent ornithological monitoring study shall be carried out during the period of the season to provide additional scientific assessment of migration flows of turtle dove and quail and to help in verification of enforcement measures.

The Government will continue in its efforts to ensure strict supervision and enforcement of the conditions for allowing this spring hunting season, including through the enforcement measures which were applied in 2011. Licensed hunters will therefore be required to wear numbered armbands and carry their Spring Hunting License at all times, report their catches through an SMS system and through their Carnet de Chasse before leaving the hunting zone and abide by time restrictions and a daily bag limit of 2 birds and a season bag limit of 4 birds.

The Police and hunting marshals shall monitor closely the observance of hunting regulations and conditions. Government demands nothing short of strict compliance with the hunting regulations established at law.  Infringements will not be tolerated. It is the duty of each and every individual hunter to comply and adhere vigorously with the law. It is in the interest of hunting organisations and of individual hunters to ensure that no illegal hunting takes place since this would otherwise jeopardise any possible future hunting derogation.

It is to be recalled that Malta is the only EU Member State for which the Court of Justice of the EU has accepted that a Spring hunting derogation for turtle dove and quail may be justifiable.

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