Thursday, 19 December 2013

The mist clears a little on trapping birds

Large stretches of coastline are mist netted
Back in the spring, I caught up with a bird watching chum who had just returned from a North African bird watching trip. I could tell that he was genuinely shocked by the amount of bird trapping that was taking place along the North African coast. He said that there was literally mile after mile of mist nets.

So I am delighted to read that a one-day coordination meeting focusing on the issue of bird trapping in Egypt and Libya took place at the UN Campus in Bonn, Germany, on 29th November 2013 and I report some of that meeting below.

The aim of the meeting was to take stock of the latest available information on the issue of bird netting in both countries and to agree on a Plan of Action on bird trapping for the Mediterranean coasts of Egypt and Libya.

The widespread hunting and trapping of migratory birds in both countries, especially through the use of mist nets along vast stretches of the Mediterranean coast, have become issues of public concern in a growing number of European countries. Unfortunately, this is despite both Egypt and Libya being contracting parties to CMS [the Convention on Migratory Species] and a number of other international environmental treaties.

However a spokesman said "The good representation from both Egypt and Libya at the Bonn coordination meeting shows that the authorities have recognized the issue, are aware of the growing publicity and are looking to cooperate with international partners and other stakeholders to try to address the issue in their countries."

The trapping of Quail and illegal use of mist netting targeted at songbirds is indiscriminate and results in many protected species being killed. The practices have been repeatedly raised by conservation organizations and by selected media as an issue of international concern, affecting millions of migratory birds trapped by the nets as they cross the Mediterranean Sea between Europe and Africa.

The meeting agreed that the main goal of the action plan was to ensure that the practice of bird trapping along the Mediterranean coasts of Egypt and Libya is both sustainable and legal and to undertake measures to better understand the current bird trapping practices in order to end any unsustainable and illegal practices in both countries.

"I am extremely pleased about the outcome of the meeting as well as the strong commitment and good spirit of cooperation which was evident in the room. We now have a strong basis for effective and coordinated actions on the ground in the months and years to come," a spokesman said.
So, it was obviously a very good meeting. Let’s hope that this optimism and cooperation is now translated onto the ground for the sake of millions of birds.

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