Malta’s spring hunting season is expected to go ahead as planned, despite the latest round of COVID-19 measures announced last week.
The new measures, which were put in place in a bid to control the latest surge in new cases brought about by the spread of the so-called UK variant of the virus, have seen restaurants and most non-essential businesses forced to close for a month. Schools have also been closed, with limitations set on the number of people that can congregate together both in public and in private residences.
According to a report in the Times of Malta, the Ornis Committee – the government’s consultative body on hunting and matters related to bird conservation – will be meeting on Wednesday to discuss the opening of a spring hunting season for quail.
It is expected that the committee will recommend an open season between 30th March and 20th April, despite objections from conservation groups.
Last year’s spring hunting season went ahead despite the pandemic, with BirdLife Malta saying that the season’s shot protected species amounted to more than triple the average in the preceding years.
Among the concerns raised last year was the fact that allowing the season to go ahead would cause a strain on police resources.
Malta is legally obliged to ensure that the countryside is patrolled by officers from the police’s Environmental Protection Unit during open season, but with a considerable number of officers engaged in the country’s COVID-19 containment efforts, there are fears that the upcoming season will again see record numbers of illegalities.
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