Backlash ensues as Miżieb, Aħrax to be given to hunters

Hunters are expected to be given management of the Miżieb and Aħrax woodlands in Mellieħa, with a formal signing ceremony to be held at Miżieb on Sunday, an invitation sent out by FKNK shows. Many entities have expressed their dismay at the act, including the coalition of environmental and cultural NGOs Spazji Miftuħa, and Mellieħa’s Councillors.

On Facebook, Mellieħa PN Councillor Ivan Castillo stated that this agreement between ERA Lands Authority and FKNK  was never provided, and the local council was never consulted and much less had the opportunity to discuss. “I do not have any clue what this contract entails,” he remarked.

Castillo continued to speak how the authority treats himself and fellow councillors as well as the residents of Mellieħa with such disrespect. He emphasized that this is not about any NGO, but rather about not allowing residents to be treated in this manner. The councillor said he has requested that this contract be discussed immediately. 

Ilbieraħ flimkien ma sħabi irċevejt stedina sabiex nattendi għall-iffirmar ta' woodland agreement tal-MIŻIEB bejn ERA,…

Posted by Ivan Castillo on Tuesday, October 6, 2020

In a statement by the Nationalist Party signed by Environment spokesperson David Thake, it was noted that the Government has failed to not only consult with the affected Local Councils, but also in publishing the same agreement.

The Nationalist Party said it expects to see the content of this agreement before commenting further. It stressed, however, that it never accepts that public land to be limited to the public except for established scientific reasons.

In a separate statement, Spazji Miftuħa expressed their anger towards the announcement, insisting that it feels that there is a great sense of frustration brewing amongst the majority of the Maltese public that are witnessing the destruction of natural and cultural spots for the pleasure of a few and the pockets of some others. 

It added that FKNK has never proved to be capable of managing the land and even worse their members who use this area. The coalition described these areas of being known to be the meccas of hunting illegalities. “These include the discovery of various illegally shot protected birds during night searches along with the filming of an FKNK official shooting a protected bird at Miżieb.”

The coalition primarily demands that the general public should be allowed to access all the public land within Miżieb and Aħrax all year round.