Malta will be facing infringement proceedings from the European Commission over its hunting and trapping regulations.
In a statement, the Commission called on Malta to “correctly apply the Birds Directive (Directive 2009/147/EC), which requires a general system of protection for wild birds and allows derogations only subject to strict conditions. The European Green Deal and the European Biodiversity Strategy indicate that it is crucial for the EU to halt biodiversity loss by protecting and restoring biodiversity.”
The derogations, the EC says, fall short systematically of the requirements set out in the legislation, related in particular to poor supervision of the conditions set out in the derogations, which results in other species than those targeted being affected.
“Relying on insufficient or inaccurate information about the populations of wild birds and the available alternatives, Malta also failed to fulfil the basic conditions for granting such derogations. Not least, the high numbers of wild birds illegally shot in Malta constitute a major and systemic failure to establish a general system of protection as required by Article 5 of the Birds Directive.”
“Separately, Malta has also recently authorised finch trapping for research purposes, having authorised finch trapping for recreational purposes for several years, an action which was found to be non-compliant with the Birds Directive by the Court of Justice of the EU.”
“In particular, the Commission considers that the new derogation scheme adopted in October 2020 authorising the trapping of finches for research purposes circumvents the judgment of the Court of Justice of the EU, by permitting trapping of finches in similar conditions as before this ruling, even if under a different regime,” the EC said.
Malta now has two months to remedy the situation. If not, the Commission will issue a reasoned opinion, before potentially taking legal action.
Malta has continuously been subject to issues with the EU over hunting and trapping, but the government has routinely continued on.
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