Ian Hudghton MEP has today continued his campaign against illegal bird hunting in Malta.
The European Birds Directive (2009) was established to protect all of the 500 wild bird species naturally occurring in the European Union, and which regulates the hunting of birds across the EU. Malta is the only EU country that allows recreational spring hunting. Malta has 2 derogations in place from the directive, which allows the Maltese to hunt Turtle Doves and Quails in the spring.
Furthermore, Malta also allows an autumn hunting season where Golden Plovers, Finches and Song Thrushes are trapped in Malta. These birds are not native to Malta, but in autumn they pass through to reside in other EU countries, including Scotland, which is trying to protect them.
Mr Hudghton has expressed his concerns to the European Commission during the past 2 legislatures regarding the Maltese bird seasons, and yesterday sent another letter to European Commissioner, Karmenu Vella, prior to the start of the spring hunting season in 2016.
Mr Hudghton said,
"For several years I have been campaigning against the issue of illegal bird hunting in Malta. There is a Scottish interest with the bird hunting practices occurring in Malta as many of the birds that are targeted during the season are known to be on their way to Scotland.
"It is disappointing that this practice appears set to go ahead again in 2016. I have written a letter to the Commission to make them aware of my concerns, and also those of a large number of constituents that have contacted me on this matter in recent years."