System that hunters use to report their catch does not work: BirdLife Malta
BirdLife Malta claims that the system used by hunters to report their catches is not working properly, while insisting that the national limit of the pigeon hunting bag has been exceeded.
On Thursday, BirdLife said it believed the 1,500-catch quota had been exceeded a week since the start of the spring hunting season. In response, the Wild Birds Regulation Unit said it was following the season and that was not the case.
Pigeons can be hunted until noon on April 30.
Hunters are required to report any killed pigeons to the WBRU. A limit of 1,500 birds for more than 8,000 licensed hunters is currently in place. If the hunting bag limit is reached before April 30, the season will be declared closed.
BirdLife claims that traditionally, spring hunting derogations see limited declarations of a few hundred birds during the last days of the season to prevent the season from ending earlier.
On Friday, BirdLife urged WBRU to admit that it was not able to get a real picture of the number of turtles killed in Malta.
She added that even if WBRU were to monitor the hunting season, it could never alleviate the sub-statements made by the hunting community.
“We also challenge WBRU to honestly state that its digital gaming reporting system has been suffering from serious problems, so hunters cannot or do not want to participate.”
ENGO claimed that it had received information in recent weeks, including from “genuine hunters” that the system adopted by the WBRU was not working and that when they tried to enter their catches they could not pass.
The informants substantiated their demands with screengrabs of comments within hunting lobby groups on social media.
BirdLife CEO Mark Sultana said this was “nothing but a farce”.
“If it weren’t for the indiscriminate killing of pigeons, which is approaching extinction, this would be laughable. On the contrary, however, this is a serious issue and WBRU has failed in its commitment to safeguard this derogation and make it not only illegal – because it targets a bird with a vulnerable status – but also because there is no strict control.
“We have lost confidence in convincing the government to do the right thing and we expect the European Commission to urgently challenge this breach of the EU Birds Directive.”
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