BirdLife Malta welcomes European Commission decision to take Malta to court over finch trapping

BirdLife Malta yesterday (15/09/2015) welcomed the European Commission’s decision to refer Malta to the European Court of Justice over its finch trapping derogation. Conservation Manager Nicholas Barbara said “BirdLife Malta applauds the Commission for not hesitating to intervene in the breach of EU laws to stop the suffering and pointless trapping of wild protected birds that the Maltese government has permitted, ignoring several warnings from the EC”.

Finch Trapping

BirdLife Malta is calling on the European Commission to apply an ‘interim measure’ to prevent finch trapping from taking place while a hearing at the ECJ is pending.  Nicholas Barbara added, “An interim measure would mean the government would be forced to suspend finch trapping until the case is heard, preventing the opening of the finch trapping season due to start on October 20th”.

The government continues to allow trapping of Golden Plover and Song Thrush with a separate derogation on which it has received two official warnings so far, meaning a third warning would bring Malta to the ECJ as well. Nicholas Barbara added that, “If a trapping season is to be opened this autumn for Golden Plover and Song Thrush, it is likely to be used as a cover for finch trapping. Our data from field surveillance in the 2012 and 2013 trapping seasons, show that 70% of sites were actually used to trap finches.”

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