The Malta Independent 26 September 2021, Sunday

Updated: Minister says police will have necessary resources to enforce hunting laws

Sunday, 5 April 2020, 19:24 Last update: about 2 years ago

The police will have the necessary resources to enforce hunting laws during the spring hunting season, which will be held between 10 and 30 April, Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri said.

The government said earlier that it had taken up the recommendation of the Ornis Committee to allow spring hunting.

Concerns have been raised over police resources, seeing that the entire ALE unit, which is tasked with monitoring wildlife crime, has been redeployed on Covid-19 quarantine checks.


Replying to questions by this newsroom on Sunday evening, Camilleri said that the police force is always prepared for all eventualities and it will have the required number of officers to monitor hunting.

The police will be assisted by other law enforcement agencies, he said.

Apart from enforcing hunting laws, the police will also make sure that hunters do not go against the recommendations issued by the public health authorities. Hunters over the age of 65 are now allowed to go out, while hunters cannot congregate in groups of more than three.

During the press conference, Deputy Prime Minister Chris Fearne was asked whether the decision was taken by the Prime Minister directly or by the Cabinet. Fearne simply said that the decision was taken by the Ornis committee.


The hunting season

The government said earlier that the decision was based on the Ornis recommendation and advice given by the health authorities.

Hunters over the age of 65 and all those who are listed as vulnerable persons cannot go out to hunt, the statement added.

The Spring hunting season will be open between 10 April and 30 April from two hours before sunrise to noon, including on weekends.

The national quota is 5,000 quail in total, and there will not be an individual quota.

The government's consideration for opening the hunting season has been heavily criticised over the past days, with many arguing that it is unfair for hunters to be able to go out and hunt when it could risk spreading the virus.

In its statement, the government argued that hunting for quail is "a solitary activity."

The government said that the licences of hunters aged over 65 and thoser who are vulnerable were witheld.

Hunters in quarantine and those ordered to remain in isolation will also not be allowed to hunt. "These, and all other directives issued by the health authorities, including that people cannot be in groups larger than three, must be obeyed," the statement read, adding that the fines for breaching the above (such as 100 euros for being in groups of more than three) will also count.

The government said that no form of abuse will be tolerated.


FKNK tells hunters to police themselves

In a statement, the hunting federation urged all hunters to observe the laws "without compromise" and to observe the recommendations issued by the health authorities.

It urged its members not to give any excuses to those who want hunting to stop, telling them that they must be the 'police' and work hard to safeguard the tradition.

Any compromise on health and hunting could lead to drastic consequences, the FKNK said.





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