Updated: Hunters 'deeply disappointed' by PM's decision
The Hunters' Federation has expressed 'deep disappointment' over the Prime Minister's declaration that Spring hunting will be banned again this year.
"We are deeply disappointed at the decision, as well as the way it was communicated," the federation's PRO, Joe Perici Calascione said.
"In my opinion it is shameful when a Prime Minister ignores an important sector of the people without at least trying to show Europe that it is ready to defend a socio-cultural tradition."
The FKNK is to issue a detailed statement later this week.
Meanwhile, BirdLife welcomed the decision.
"The Prime Minister's decision gives us hope that Malta is starting to take serious action for the protection of the European Union's common natural heritage" the society said.
Dr Gonzi made his announcement when he replied to questions on the PBS programme Dissett.
This will be the second year without Spring Hunting. Hunting was also banned last year after the issue went before the European Court and an interim order was issued pending consideration of the case. The case, however, is still pending.
The Ornis Committee discussed the Spring Open Season last week but decided not to make a recommendation, referring the issue to the Prime Minister, who as Environment Minister, is ultimately responsible to decide.
The Hunters’ Federation had insisted that Spring Hunting should open, arguing that by keeping it closed, the government would be contradicting the stand being taken in the European Court where Malta is arguing in favour of spring hunting.
However Dr Gonzi said that last year the government had declared that no spring hunting could take place while the court case was pending, so as not to prejudice the case. Therefore, there could be no spring hunting this year.