Hunting fines increase ten-fold as from today

Government today published a legal notice “Conservation of Wild Birds (Amendment) Regulations” increasing penalties for illegal shooting or taking of protected birds ten-fold.

As from today, anyone convicted of shooting or trapping protected species, even in the case of a first time offence, will automatically incur a €5,000 fine, and/or imprisonment for one year, as well as permanent revocation or ban on obtaining a hunting or trapping license. In the case of second or subsequent offence, the applicable penalty will go up to €10,000, confiscation, and/or imprisonment for two years.

Parliamentary Secretary Roderick Galdes said that the recent spate of incidents involving protected birds demonstrated that despite previous increases in legal deterrents and improvements in field enforcement, the problem of illegal targeting of protected birds still needed to be fully addressed.

“These harsher penalties are definitely expected to have a huge effect on the overall enforcement situation.”

The increases, he said, formed part of a broader package of measures that would, collectively, help stamp out illegal targeting of protected birds.

“We shall also, in the coming months, initiate a comprehensive drive to crack down on illegal taxidermy and trade in protected wild birds, which are amongst the main motives behind poaching. But above all, eradication of abuse should not be seen as a problem that can be solved by authorities only. It is a problem that demands joint thinking and real collaboration amongst all sectors of society, and in particular – amongst all voluntary organisations active within this sector,” he said.

The secretariat invited all interested NGOs to sign a joint communique on a common resolve to eradicate illegal taking and trade in wild birds in Malta (see pdf link below).

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