Situated on the central European-African flyway the Maltese Islands should be a haven for migrating birds. Unfortunately this is not the case. Internationally, Malta has a deserved reputation for bird persecution as trapping and illegal hunting are widespread. Since accession to the European Union (EU), conditions have improved on the islands, with spring hunting and trapping stopped last year. This year, if Accession Treaty negotiations are honoured, an even bigger step forward will be taken, with the banning of trapping.
The Birds Directive forbids trapping in EU member states. During Accession Treaty negotiations prior to joining the EU in 2004, Malta negotiated a five year phasing out period for the practise of trapping. This period expired at the end of 2008, and according to these agreements, 2009 will be the first year that trapping should be banned in Malta.