BirdLife Cyprus completed its report with the latest findings of the on-going and systematic surveillance programme on illegal bird trapping for the autumn 2015 season. Based on the analysis of the survey data, 19km of net rides were active during the autumn season of 2015 within the survey area covering Larnaca – Famagusta and Ayios Theodoros – Maroni areas and more than 5,300 limesticks were confiscated by enforcement agencies. Based on the data gathered, BirdLife Cyprus estimated that over 2 million birds could have been killed across the whole of Cyprus in autumn 2015 from this illegal activity. These numbers confirm the industrial scale of illegal bird trapping activity on the island, both with mist nets and limesticks.
Mist netting activity for autumn 2015 decreased by 13% compared to 2002, a positive outcome compared to the record breaking levels recorded in autumn 2014. However, mist netting activity remains at much higher levels compared to a decade ago (in 2006 the levels of trapping were 80% lower compared to the baseline year of 2002 as recorded by the BirdLife Cyprus surveillance programme). The scale of illegal bird trapping, and the impact Cyprus is having as a country on migratory birds, is also confirmed from the recent publication of a scientific article with title ‘Preliminary assessment of the scope and scale of illegal killing and taking of birds in the Mediterranean’ (read relevant e-news article)
And although enforcement action took place to a certain extent on the trapping fields by the competent authorities, enforcement against restaurants serving ambelopoulia has been very limited and much reduced in the last few years. BirdLife Cyprus was not informed of any restaurant prosecution taking place in 2015 (and only one restaurant was prosecuted in 2014). This inaction is indefensible as restaurants are the key economic driver of this illegal activity. We believe that this much reduced enforcement action against them is influenced by the lack of political will by the Cyprus Government for tackling effectively illegal bird trapping and trade and by the very bad development regarding the proposed ‘alternative plan’ (read relevant e-news article).