In line with Government’s commitment to strengthen enforcement, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights is coordinating with the Police and other law enforcement agencies to ensure increased enforcement presence in the field during the forthcoming Autumn hunting season. The Administrative Law Enforcement Unit of the Police is being augmented with additional staff compliment to ensure greater surveillance and monitoring of the countryside to eradicate and prevent potential infringements. The ALE will be assisted by other enforcement personnel.
Furthermore, the Parliamentary Secretariat shall, in the coming weeks, introduce considerably harsher and more effective penalties for bird-related crime. The relevant details of these harsher penalties shall be released in due course. In parallel, the Government shall also initiate the process of developing a national communication strategy for the eradication of illegal killing, trapping and trade in wild birds. A working group consisting of the key stakeholders including representatives of conservation NGOs and hunting organisations shall shortly be formed for this purpose.
The Parliamentary Secretariat has furthermore initiated the process of inter-ministerial consultation on a proposal for the establishment of Wildlife Crime Investigations Unit within the Malta Police Force. It is envisaged that once established, this Unit will significantly improve coordination and concentration of enforcement effort in the field.
As regards the recently observed large influx of migrating birds particularly flamingos, reported by representatives of both the hunting and conservation organisations, it should be noted that virtually all birds observed continued their Southerly migration without incident.
Notwithstanding this, the Government deplores and condemns without reservation the isolated incidents of alleged illegal targeting of protected birds and reiterates its commitment to zero-tolerance policy for abuse.
The Police are investigating all reported incidents and offenders are being prosecuted and brought to justice according to law. The fact that the alleged incidents took place during the closed season underscores the need for greater deterrent and more effective enforcement in the field. In this respect, the Parliamentary Secretariat for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights thanks the Police for their swift and effective response that led to the arraignment of the individuals concerned in Gozo.
- Government willing to risk spring hunting season – Birdlife
by MaltaMedia News -15 March 2011
- Autumn hunting season dates announced
by MaltaMedia News -28 August 2012
- Birdlife calls for end to rabbit hunting loophole
by MaltaMedia News -31 May 2009
- BirdLife office flooded by illegal hunting reports and injured birds
by MaltaMedia News -5 October 2012
- Shot protected birds doubled this autumn – BirdLife
by MaltaMedia News -16 November 2012