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Committee Against Bird Slaughter - CABS
Press release - Thursday, 16 October 2014

Bag limit for finches already exploited by poachers
Permits for ´supersize-trapping-sites´ criticised

The Committee Against Bird Slaughter CABS has criticised the opening of the bird trapping season next Monday as a clear breach of the EU´s Birds Directive. The NGO announced that it will monitor the situation in the field with two teams until December. The volunteers will document the amount and impact of trapping on the countryside as well as report any misuse to the police. A detailed report will also be sent to the European Commission in Brussels which is currently preparing infringement procedures against Malta over the comeback of finch trapping.

Clapnet on MaltaClapnet on MaltaCABS particulary criticised the government for licencing dozens of ´supersize trapping installations´ for the capturing of plovers with up to 8 nets covering an area of 60 square metres each net. CABS said that many of these "mega-sites" are covering several thousands of square metres of countryside and are equipped with powerful spotlights, artificial ponds, large aviaries and CCTV surveillance. "Announcing a bag limit of 6 plovers per season and issuing permits for installations which are designed to trap hundreds of birds per week does not make any sense. By doing so the government has reduced to absurdity its claims that trapping will only be allowed under limited conditions", CABS president Heinz Schwarze said. The ornithologist also slammed the government´s plan to have only 7 police officers per 1000 trappers as representing a drop in the ocean. CABS called on the government to deploy more police resources in the field as well as for surveillance of bird markets. "The underground trade of live wild birds is a widespread, risk-free and profitable business on Malta. As long money is still such a strong incentive misuse of the trapping derogation will be enivitable", Mr. Schwarze said.

According to CABS the national bag limit for the live-capturing of certain species of finches might already have been exploited by poachers before the beginning of the legal trapping season. Aerial and ground surveys conducted by the organisation in February, March and April this year resulted in the count of more than 600 freshly cleared trapping sites for finches during the closed season. "Considering the large number of active sites and the poor enforcement in spring we start from the premise that the quotas for certain species such as Greenfinch and Hawfinch might already have been "skimmed off" by poachers in spring, when trapping has a much larger effect on the population than in autumn", Heinz Schwarze explains. According to CABS the average response time of the police in 14 trapping reports from spring was 71 minutes allowing many trappers to remove their nets and escape with illegally caught birds. "The same authorities that totally failed to enforce the trapping ban in spring are now promising a strict supervision of the season in autumn", he added.

Contact for photographic and video material and other information: CABS Press Officer Axel Hirschfeld, Telephone +49 1794803805 or Email to