Calls In Malta To Abolish Licensed Protected Bird Sport Hunting

Calls in Malta to abolish licensed protected bird sport hunting

The hunting of birds in springtime is undertaken by registered hunters using shotguns in Malta every year. The licence allows hunters to shoot quail and turtle dove for two weeks in April.  In 2013 over 9,487 hunters were given licences to shoot a maximum of 11,000 Turtle Doves and 5,000 Quail between them. Some hunters also target other birds, especially rare and protected species such as Marsh Harrier, Cuckoo and Nightjar.

The birds flying over Malta are heading towards northern Europe to breed.  Killing birds in springtime means that they will not be able to breed and so this affects their overall population.  The numbers of both Common Quail and European Turtle Dove are declining and so they have been registered as species of conservation concern. This means that hunting them for sport could be very damaging to the ability of these species to survive.

Malta is a small densely populated country with possibly the highest density of hunters in the world.  Hunters illegally occupy large areas of the countryside, preventing other people from enjoying it.  For example, some school visits to the countryside have had to be abandoned in springtime because of the potential dangers of taking children out where shotguns are being fired.  Ramblers, cyclists and tourists are regularly threatened or intimidated by hunters when they are enjoying the countryside too.  Many tourists complain about the hunting they witness and there is little doubt that spring hunting affects tourism on the Maltese islands, something that makes up 40% of the Maltese economy.

The Coalition is seeking to achieve an end to spring hunting on the Maltese islands. It is doing this by applying pressure on the Maltese government to remove the legislation that allows spring hunting to take place.  The Coalition is also working across the European Union to bring pressure on the European Commission to enforce the Birds’ Directive properly and ban spring hunting on the Malta. Anyone can help collect signatures for the petition.  To receive a copy of the petition and instructions in how to collect signatures, please send an email to:

Read more on sport hunting and tourism here and read the original story here.