Gozo Minister pledges to defend hunting and trapping after being made responsible for sector

DOI / Pierre Smmut

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Gozo Minister Clint Camilleri promised to work in the interest of hunters and trappers after confirming that he had been made responsible for the Wild Birds Regulation Unit, which is responsible for the regulation of hunting and trapping as well as the conservation of wild birds.

Mr Camilleri, an avid hunter, retained responsibility over the unit even though he was assigned the Gozo portfolio following the resignation of minister Justyne Caruana last week. His previous portfolio, covering agriculture and fisheries, was assigned to fellow Gozo MP Anton Refalo, with the exception of the WBRU.

During question time in today’s parliament session, MP Chris Said questioned the logic behind the decision to make the Gozo Minister responsible for regulating hunting and trapping, but Mr Camilleri simply said that he was proud to be entrusted with the sector.

He said that the government would always be honest in its dealings with hunters and trappers, contrasting this with the Nationalist Party in opposition, who he said, “deceived them year after year” when in government.

Perhaps tellingly, Mr Camilleri made no reference to either enforcement or conservation – both of which are now part of his portfolio – during his intervention in parliament.

In a supplementary question, opposition MP Maria Deguara welcomed Mr Camilleri’s pledge to defend the interests of hunters and trappers, and asked him to state what was in the pipeline to help them regain the rights they had lost over the years.

Mr Camilleri reiterated that what he would not do is to deceive hunters as the PN had done, noting that Malta was one of very few EU member states in which spring hunting still took place, and pledged that the practice would continue.

He also said that it was committed to finding a way to reopen spring hunting on turtledoves, which is subject to a moratorium due to a decline in numbers.

Bird Life Malta on Prime Minister’s decision to place hunting regulator under Gozo Ministry

BirdLife Malta described this move as “diabolical”, further describing it as a “purely electoral one”.

Mark Sultana, the Chief Executive Officer of BirdLife Malta spoke about the fact that the Wild Birds Regulation Unit (WBRU) was put under the Ministry for Gozo, Clint Camilleri. He explained that the Camilleri, “himself a hunter and trapper” will have power over the regulator dealing with hunting and trapping.

BirdLife Malta said that it was hoping that Prime Minister Robert Abela responds to the current local environmental needs by transferring the responsibility of hunting and trapping to a ministry which upholds the environment rather than support hunting and trapping lobby.

Birdlife Malta concluded by urging the Prime Minister to reconsider this decision and place the WBRU within a ministry that reflects the nation’s need for a government that considers the environment as a priority.