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Spring Hunting in Malta - Updates

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  • Spring Hunting in Malta - Updates

    Hi there

    I am opening this Thread to post any updates regarding the Spring Hunting Issue.....Right now we are waiting for the EU court to make the desition about Spring hunting....This is from our local English newspaper...... Hope for the best........fingers crossed. Link to article -

    Brussels shoots down hunters' proposal
    Crucial decision on spring hunting on WednesdayIvan Camilleri in Brussels

    The EU executive has rejected Maltese hunters' latest proposal and made it clear that there is no valid reason for spring hunting to continue, a spokesman for the European Com-mission told The Sunday Times.

    Sources yesterday said that the Commission will on Wednesday meet to discuss whether Malta should be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) over the issue.

    "We have been warning Malta since its accession to the EU and the time has come to take drastic action. We expect that in less than a year the ECJ will be in a position to give a ruling. The court might also consider imposing interim measures until a final ruling is made," the sources said.

    Malta is the only EU country which still permits spring hunting and the Commission has warned on a number of occasions that it will take the issue to court if the Government continues to allow the practice to take place.

    The hunters' federation is arguing that the spring season should open by virtue of an exemption - known as a derogation - permitted under the EU's Birds Directive. However, the spokesman said this does not apply as hunters in Malta can already practise their hobby during the autumn season.

    In a final gamble to 'save' Malta's spring hunting season, the FKNK last week said that in collaboration with European hunting organisation FACE, it had drawn up a position document "in order to allow the Maltese authorities to grant a derogation for hunting only quail and turtledove during part of the pre-nuptial migration, in small numbers and under strictly supervised conditions, by taking into account the particular bio-geogra-phical and socio-cultural situation of Malta".

    However, the Commission reiterated on Friday that this is not possible and spring hunting in Malta has to stop once and for all.

    "Spring hunting - that is hunting of migratory birds on their return to their rearing grounds - is prohibited under Article 7 of the Birds Directive. A derogation from that general prohibition is provided for under Article 9, which states that a fundamental condition that must be met before a derogation can be permitted is the requirement that no other satisfactory solution is available," the spokesman explained.

    The latest issue raised by the federation has already been addressed by the European Court of Justice (ECJ) in an almost identical case to Malta's, he added.

    The ECJ has looked at this matter and concluded that another satisfactory solution is available where it is possible to hunt at another time of year - during autumn - even if a smaller numbers of birds are available then (Case C-344/03 - Commission vs Finland).

    "Following this approach by the court, where a derogation concerns 'small numbers... under strictly supervised conditions' another satisfactory solution exists."

    The Government has always maintained it is ready to defend its position before the ECJ, while also declaring that it will respect the court's decision. The Government has not yet decided whether to open the next spring hunting season in March.

    Environment Minister George Pullicino last week said that he will wait for the opinion of the Ornis Committee before taking a final decision. Sources yesterday told The Sunday Times that the Government will not be making any move until it knows the outcome of the Commission's decision on Wednesday.


    For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -

  • #2
    Thank you for this Christopher, it is good to see Brussels doing something (anything?)!!

    Please keep us all here updated, your participation is VERY much appreciated.




    • #3
      More news about spring hunting -

      Brussels insists on immediate action

      Ivan Camilleri

      The European Commission is today expected to ask the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to stop Malta from opening the hunting season this spring.

      In a meeting today, the College of Commissioners is expected to decide to take the Maltese spring hunting case to the ECJ, a Commission source told The Times yesterday. Concurrently, it will file an extraordinary application so that, until the main case is decided, the Maltese authorities will still be barred from allowing hunting next spring.

      "We have warned Malta over the past years that, according to the Commission, the continuation of spring hunting is illegal and goes against EU law," the source said.

      "As Malta did not come in line and continued to allow spring hunting, we will now have to take extreme measures to make sure that no hunting is allowed in spring or until the proper court case is decided."

      Malta had been served with two written warnings by the Commission over this issue, a first formal notice in July 2006 and a reasoned opinion last October.

      The island replied officially to both letters but did not specify that it would stop spring hunting as it argues that, prior to accession, it had negotiated the right to apply a derogation to allow hunting for turtle doves and quail.

      The Commission source said the expected application will be made under the ECJ''s "special form of procedure" so that an injunction will be issued against the Maltese authorities prohibiting them from granting permission for spring hunting until the original court case is decided.

      European court experts said the ECJ normally takes two to three years to decide a case similar to Malta 's. However, as the Commission believes that the issue is urgent it will also ask the court to take interim measures and the court will declare itself in a matter of weeks or even days.

      According to the experts, interim measures are granted under strict conditions. The substance of the main proceedings must appear, at first sight, to be well founded. The applicant (the Commission) must show that the measures are urgent and that it would suffer serious and irreparable harm without them. The interim measures must also take account of the balance of the parties' interests and of the public interest.

      A spokesman for the ECJ said yesterday an application by the Commission for interim measures is only used in rare cases where there is need for urgent and fast track decisions to be taken. Last year, there were only three cases where applications for the issue of interim measures were filed out of a total of 573 court procedures that were started.

      The spokesman said that, according to the procedures, the president of the ECJ may issue an order even before the observations of the opposite party have been submitted. Under normal circumstances, a hearing is held before a decision on interim measures is made.

      It is not yet decided how the case against Malta will be dealt with by the ECJ as the Commission is only expected to file its application today. Commission sources told The Times the ECJ is likely to accept the Commission's request in a few weeks' time. This would mean that hunting would not be able to take place in Malta this spring.

      Last week, the government said it had not yet decided whether to open the spring hunting season in March and was waiting for the opinion of the Ornis committee on the issue.

      Government sources said they were aware of a possible decision to be taken by the Commission but would only comment when the actual decision is made.

      The Sunday Times reported last Sunday that the EU executive had rejected an 11th hour proposal by the Maltese hunters' federation (FKNK) to allow hunting on quail and turtle dove "in small numbers and under strictly supervised conditions".

      A Commission spokesman had told this newspaper the Commission had already said that "another satisfactory solution is available in Malta where it is possible to hunt at another time of year - during autumn".

      Since its accession to the EU, Malta has allowed spring hunting to take place in four spring seasons against the wishes of the European Commission.

      __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ______________________________

      This are the actions taken regarding Spring Hunting in Malta after joined the EU -

      July 2006 - The Commission decides to send a first warning letter to Malta over the spring hunting of two species of birds: quails (Coturnix coturnix) and turtle doves (Streptopelia turtur). The Commission claims that the granting by Malta of a derogation between May 1 and 22, 2004 was not in accordance with the strict conditions governing this derogation as "a satisfactory solution to spring hunting existed during the autumn hunting season".

      September 2006 - Deadline for Malta 's reply elapses. Commission decides to give Malta a further two months to reply.

      March 2007 - Malta sends reply to first warning letter. It says it believes it has acted in line with EU law with respect to the application of the derogation for spring hunting under article 9 of the Birds Directive and has also acted fully within the spirit of the accession negotiations.

      Late March 2007 - Spring hunting allowed again. The European Commission decides to send a supplementary letter of formal notice to the government over the issue, widening the scope of the infringement to cover similar derogations granted by Malta for the spring hunting seasons of 2005, 2006 and 2007.

      October 2007 - Malta 's arguments rejected. The Commission decides to move to its second stage of legal proceedings sending Malta a reasoned opinion. The Commission states that it believes that alternative solutions to spring hunting exist in autumn.

      January 2008 - Malta replies to reasoned opinion.


      For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -


      • #4
        FLASH NEWS - EU takes Malta to Court over spring hunting

        Hi there

        At last the decision is taken.......Malta is going to be taken to EU court over Spring Hunting.....YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS
        For more info -


        Last edited by Christopher Cachia Zammit; January 31st, 2008, 01:43 PM.
        For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -


        • #5
          Very good news indeed Christopher. Let us hope that there is a satisfactory outcome to this action.

          Please keep the information coming.

          Many thanks,



          • #6
            Hunters sue government claiming breach of acquired right

            The hunters' federation (FKNK) yesterday sued the government and the former EU information centre over what it termed as their betrayal on the spring hunting issue.

            In an application filed by lawyer Alex Perici Calascione on its behalf, the FKNK asked the court to declare that hunters' rights are being breached by the hunting regulations introduced after Malta became an EU member.

            The federation is claiming that the promise made by the government then, through a letter sent by the Office of the Prime Minister to hunters and trappers before the 2003 election, promising that spring hunting would remain unchanged after EU accession, amounted to a formal commitment.

            This, the federation argues, gives hunters the acquired right to expect that the legal regime would remain the same and, therefore, that the changes implemented in the years since accession breach this right.

            The lawsuit follows the government's statement that it will abide by the decision of the European Court of Justice should it uphold the request by the European Commission to declare spring hunting in Malta in breach of the Birds Directive.

            The hunters' federation said it was defending the hunters and trappers whose "legal expectations" had been raised by documented evidence, released by the Office of the Prime Minister and the Malta EU information Centre before EU accession, in connection with the derogation granted to Malta under the Birds Directive with regard to spring hunting.

            All documents, the federation insisted, unequivocally stated that through the derogation obtained by Malta, the EU would still allow sustainable hunting in spring to continue provided the parameters of the derogations are respected.

            The federation hinted that the lawsuit filed yesterday is likely to be the first in a battle possibly even in the European Court of Justice.

            Coming on the eve of an election this can hardly be good news for the government, which is deemed by the federation as having deceived them with the "tacit complicity" of the European Commission about the implications of EU accession on their hobby.

            Contacted shortly after the federation filed its application, federation secretary Lino Farrugia described the mood among hunters as "very angry".

            Notices posted on the federation's website yesterday morning called on hunters to "wake up" and mount a campaign of protests and civil disobedience against the government. One even suggested a protest in which hunters would bring their hunting dogs along with them outside Castille.

            On the possibility of a protest, Mr Farrugia said the committee has still to decide what to do and it would only call a protest if it felt such action would be effective.

            Asked about the possible implications for the election, he said there will surely be an effect but one could not say as yet what sort of effect that would be.

            "I'm not saying that this will favour one party or the other... even though the Nationalists are the real culprits in this but we haven't seen a ray of hope from the other side either, so one still has yet to see," he said clearly referring to the Labour Party. The MLP has declared it would have no choice but to abide by EU regulations.

            Recalling that the federation had changed its statute, which previously barred it from involving itself in politics, he said he did not exclude the possibility of the federation taking sides politically with a party that supported its plea to keep the present hunting regime.

            Link -


            For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -


            • #7
              Saw the following link on Tom McKinney's blog.

              "Oh yeah, and scroll down the link below and vote in the poll on the right of the page (if you're unsure, the answer is 'yes'):"

              They've only had 5000 votes so far - let's see if we can singlehandedly get it up to 6k.
              My Surfbirds Photo Albums


              • #8
                BirdLife volunteers' cars torched

                During the early hours of the morning today, three cars belonging to BirdLife Malta volunteers were torched by unknown individuals in Buskett. All three cars were totally destroyed.

                Two of the cars belong to BirdLife Malta council members while the third car, exhibiting a diplomatic plate, belongs to an American citizen who started volunteering with the organisation a few months ago. The three volunteers were carrying out scientific ringing studies in Buskett. They arrived on site at around 5.45 a.m. and headed off to a nearby field to start their work. Just a few minutes after, they heard a bang. Within fifteen minutes fire engines and Police had arrived on the scene. BirdLife Malta’s Executive Director Tolga Temuge also arrived at the scene shortly after.

                The Police informed BirdLife that the incident was most probably a criminal act. Mr Temuge said: “This is not the first time such a thing has happened. Our reserves as well as the EU Life project site were vandalised, 3,000 trees and shrubs were uprooted and sawed down at FORESTA 2000 and to this day not one single person has been brought to justice. This inaction is giving a dangerous message that these criminals can get away with what they are doing.”

                BirdLife said that ten days ago the organisation had sent a letter to the Commissioner of Police and in copy to the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister of the Environment George Pullicino informing them about messages with an increasingly threatening tone posted on the FKNK website forum. BirdLife had requested action from the part of the relevant authorities but, up till today, the organisation had received no communication from the Police.

                “We demand urgent action from the government to bring these criminals to justice. What are they waiting for, someone to get seriously hurt?” Temuge concluded.

                For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -


                • #9
                  Hi Christopher, this is incredible. A sign of desperation indeed.
                  My Surfbirds Photo Albums


                  • #10

                    It is a good job that nobody was hurt and the inaction of the authorities in Malta is just as incredible. The harm it does to the Maltese Government's already tarnished image around the world should, you would think, make them want to do something.

                    The hunters themselves are criminals and this just goes to prove it to many.

                    Brian S


                    • #11

                      I had already seen this in an email alert from BirdLife International. One of the worrying aspects is the very short period of time (a few minutes) between the ringers leaving base and this actually happening.

                      Maybe those responsible have "shot themselves in the foot" this time; this must surely get wide news coverage in Malta and almost certainly turn more of the general public against the pro-hunting viewpoint.

                      Take care,



                      • #12
                        Hi there,

                        This isn't the first time that hunters attacked birders and ringers. Last year the foresta 2000 warden was shot in the face fortunatly he wasn't hurt seriosly...Once 30 hunters abushed 4 birders at buskett and destroyed all there binoculars and cameras and injured the birders.

                        They do allot of other things such as placing pins under car tyers or block roads with stones...both of these actions were done during the Raptor Camp.

                        They dont only attack people but they even attack nature reserve..once they threw oil over the Ghadira Nature Reserve fence and into the nature reserve and as there was writen in the article...they destroyed 3000 trees.

                        Hope this madness stopes....


                        For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -


                        • #13
                          and the police do nothing?
                          My Surfbirds Photo Albums


                          • #14
                            Police do there investigation on the attacks....but unfortunatly most of them are not solved...and no one is taken to court


                            For more info about Birdlife Malta visit -


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Christopher Cachia Zammit View Post
                              Police do there investigation on the attacks....but unfortunatly most of them are not solved...and no one is taken to court


                              Yes, this is pretty much what you come to expect in Southern Europe I'm afraid. Portugal is not in the same league as Malta, Sicily and Cyprus when it comes to hunting and poaching, but we are not too far behind.

                              I have seen Ospreys and Flamingos shot out of the sky just for target practice, and a couple of years ago my wife and I witnessed someone at Cabo de São Vicente shooting on a non-hunting day, in a non-hunting area and photographed him leaning (literally) on the "No Hunting" sign just after he had shot and maimed a Griffon Vulture (later captured and taken to a vet). I also photographed this guy's 4x4 pickup (and licence plate) and had a couple of good shots of him getting into the vehicle which clearly showed his face (500mm + 1.4TC).

                              I made some prints and showed them to someone who is "in the know" and asked his advice about how I should proceed with this evidence in terms of prosecuting this man. I was told that this man was a high ranking police officer with the Vila do Bispo GNR and that if I presented a case I would have to give all my details (name, address, etc) and that I would be putting my family and property at risk.

                              A Prince shooting a couple of Hen Harriers might be a "one off" event, but what I have described occurs every day of the year over here.

                              Very depressing