Only 100 hunters were arraigned in court for infringement of hunting regulations between January 2015 and October 2017.
In the previous two years 117 hunters had been arraigned for breaking hunting regulations.
2014 saw the highest number of hunters to be apprehended in the past five years. During that year a total of 83 hunters were arraigned, 74 of which were found guilty. The number dropped to 39 in 2015 and to only 30 in 2016. Between January and October 2017 31 hunters were arraigned.
The figures were tabled in parliament by home affairs minister Michael Farrugia in reply to a parliamentary question by the PN’s environment spokesperson Karol Aquilina.
This suggests that either hunters became more law abiding after the spring hunting referendum in 2015 or that law enforcement became more lax or ineffective.
In May 2017 Birdlife had denounced that hunting illegalities were on the rise whilst enforcement was at an all-time low.
“In Malta today there is a breakdown in the enforcement of environmental laws resulting in irreparable damage to the natural environment. Law and order in Malta’s countryside is inexistent and we are today calling on the Prime Minister to place the environment as a priority,” BirdLife Malta CEO Mark Sultana said.
Moreover, in a letter sent to police commissioner Lawrence Cutajar, German organisation CABS said the police did not respond to reports of illegal night trapping or the use of illegal bird callers in more than 83% of the cases flagged.
Between January and September 2004, 376 hunters were arraigned. 139 hunters had been arraigned in 2009. But the number had already declined to 53 in 2011.