'Protected bird shot at sea'
BirdLife yesterday reported to the police that a protected bird, a great cormorant, was shot from close to the shore.
The NGO circulated to the media photos which, it said, showed two hunters on a dinghy recovering the bird from the sea after shooting it just a few hundred metres from the shore in Pembroke.
The photos were taken by a birdwatcher who, BirdLife said, witnessed the incident at 6.20 a.m. on Saturday. The images, it added, have also been sent to the police.
Legal Notice 79 bans hunting at sea within three kilometers of the coast. The great cormorant is a protected species under the EU and Maltese law and is a migratory species.
BirdLife Malta said illegal hunting this autumn was widespread and worse when compared to last year because many poachers had been recorded shooting at protected birds even in bird sanctuaries and in the presence of the police.
BirdLife said it received 66 protected birds which had been shot since the beginning of the migration season this autumn. Such a figure, it pointed out, only represented the tip of the iceberg and was likely to increase if the government continued to deny the scale of illegal shooting.