BirdLife Cyprus expressed its serious concerns and opposition to the law amendment prepared by the Game and Fauna Service with title ‘The Protection and Management of Wild Birds and Game Species (Amendment) Law of 2016′, during the recent discussion held at the Environment Committee of the Cyprus Parliament on 29 June 2016.
The proposals of the Game and Fauna Service included the following, amongst others: on-the-spot fine regulation for all offences, the issuing of written warnings for specific offences, the improvement of protection measures for habitats and SPAs, the possibility to use air rifles for hunting, the introduction of falconry and allowing the use of artificial decoys as bird models and calling devices for hunting. Equally unacceptable is a proposal to allow for hunters to take their game to restaurants and consume it there, a move that would effectively ‘legalise’ the offer of game in restaurants, as it will be impossible for law enforcement agencies to check the origin of the birds on offer.
BirdLife Cyprus stressed at the Parliament discussion that the proposed law amendment essentially introduces a series of relaxations and loopholes in the existing legislative framework without achieving any updating and modernisation of the Main law, and that these proposals would be disastrous for the sustainable management of game and the conservation of wild birds, and completely ineffective with regards to better combating of poaching and illegal bird trapping in Cyprus. You may find our official position letter as submitted to the Parliament here (only in Greek).
Furthermore, BirdLife Cyprus highlighted that the public debate undertaken for the Law Amendment in discussion was completely inadequate and non-transparent and we called upon the Environment Committee to withdraw the bill and order the Game and Fauna Service to carry out a meaningful public and democratic participation with all key stakeholders and to then bring the bill back to the Parliament for discussion and voting.
The discussion at the Parliament will continue and BirdLife Cyprus will prepare detailed comments on the law amendment proposed by the Game Service. The efforts of BirdLife Cyprus and the other environmental NGOs will be to withdraw all these unacceptable proposals that have been included in order to prevent further relaxation of the current legislation.