Despite facing an open court case and substantial pressure from both the European Commission and Parliament, the government of Malta once again decides to open a trapping season for finches.
One might think why all this fuss? Apart from breaching EU laws, the so called Birds Directive, this action also reflects negatively on our nation.
Let us for a while forget the European Court of Justice and international relations and just focus on our tiny island. The Maltese islands comprise some 316km². From this small land area, roughly one third is made up the urban environment. Around a half of the total land area is dedicated to farming and the remainder is natural or rather semi-natural land-cover.
Why is this important? Considering we only have such a small amount of natural land left, we must ensure that this tiny percentage is preserved. The issue of finch trapping here is that in order to trap birds, trappers must clear a substantial part of land to keep it free for their nets. Not only are they using herbicides and destroying our flora, but they are also destroying our fauna, not only the birds they trap, but also the species that rely on the natural vegetation which was destroyed by burning and use of herbicides. Additionally, snakes are also targeted by trappers as they prey on birds.
Therefore, combining all these negative factors, it is only logical not to open a trapping season, especially for finches. Not only are we breaching laws which reflects bad on our nation, but in this way we are also destroying our limited natural heritage.