Maltese bird trappers who had high hopes that they would be allowed to start trapping during the coming October and November, have been told that this year there will be no finch-trapping but that the government is preparing for next year’s season.
The trappers were notified by the Hunting Federation FKNK that the autumn season for finch-trapping would not be opened this year. According to the FKNK a delegation met the Environment Minister Leo Brincat and Parliamentary Secretary for Animal Rights Roderick Galdes earlier this week and was informed of the government's decision.
In order to pacify the angry trappers the Federation argued that the government didn't have enough time to apply this year's derogation correctly and preferred to work on next year's, rather than do things hastily and risk receiving a total ban from the EU.
However, the Federation assured its members that it had submitted its proposals in plenty of time to both the government and opposition for the correct application of the derogation which would allow Malta to open the autumn season. This indicates that the Federation is putting the ball firmly back in the politicians’ court.
Last year, the governing Nationalist Party applied a derogation of EU law to allow the trapping of song thrush and golden plover, a decision which was contested by the European Commission. During the election campaign the labour Government had raised high hopes among the hunters and trappers that a derogation would be sought. The angry trappers feel betrayed by the politicians.
In a meeting I had recently with the Parliamentary Secretary for Animal Rights he made it clear that any illegal hunting would be met with zero tolerance.