The Malta Independent 15 April 2024, Monday
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Ornis Committee recommends spring hunting season identical to 2023

Wednesday, 3 April 2024, 13:36 Last update: about 12 days ago

The Malta Ornis Committee has voted to recommend to Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri for the spring hunting season to be opened with identical parameters to last year’s.

This will mean that the hunting of turtle doves and quail would be allowed for a short period in April.

The Committee decided to take up the proposal tabled by Federazzjoni Kaċċaturi Nassaba Konservazzjonisti (FKNK) to allow turtle dove and quail hunting this April across the same dates as 2023’s spring hunting season.

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Through this proposal, Minister Camilleri will need to apply a derogation to the European Union’s Birds Directive in order to allow the opening of the spring hunting season.

Should this proposal be taken up, quail hunting will be opened from 10th April to 30th April and turtle dove hunting will be legal from 17th April till 30th April, both starting and closing dates included for both seasons. Hunting hours will begin two hours from sunset and will close at noon every day.

The national catch quotas for both birds’ species shall also remain the same as last year. This quota stands at 2,400 quail and 1,500 turtle doves.

FKNK’s proposal was presented in a document prepared by the same federation that featured “positive results” obtained through the sustainability of dove hunting, the Committee said. These results were achieved through surveys and scientific studies that were carried out by FKNK with the help of its volunteering members in 2021, 2022, and 2023, as well as through FKNK’s dove project entitled, “Turtle Doves Captive-breeding for Release into the Wild.”

FKNK have begun encouraging its members to willingly participate in this year’s intended study for the upcoming spring hunting season, in preparation before the Minister expectedly welcomes the Ornis Committee’s recommendation. More details on FKNK’s 2024 study will be publicized in due course, the Committee added.

BirdLife Malta had proposed a moratorium on the spring hunting of the vulnerable European Turtle-dove, saying that this was in view of scientific evidence pointing to the species’ continued decline.

Malta is currently subject to European infringement procedures on the basis of it allowing the hunting of turtle doves in spring.


Photo: Aron Tanti
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