Hunting of migratory birds

13 May 2013    
Philippe Boulland (PPE)


In 2009, the European Union adopted the Birds Directive in order to promote the protection and management of populations of wild bird species within the EU.

The directive recognises the right to hunt different bird species provided that limits are set and complied with in order to ensure that populations of these species remain at satisfactory levels. Authorised species are listed in an annex to the directive, but Member States are given a great deal of flexibility in terms of the opening and closing dates for hunting seasons, depending on the birds’ migratory movements.

In Cyprus, for instance, 1.4 million migratory birds were killed in 2010 during the migratory period.

Does the Commission believe that the rules governing the hunting of migratory birds are adequate?

With a view to promoting nature and biodiversity conservation, should more stringent rules not be imposed in order to ensure that the hunting of migratory birds is banned during their migratory period?


20 June 2013    


Answer given by Mr Potočnik on behalf of the Commission

The Commission considers that the rules governing the hunting of wild birds in the EU, as set out in the Birds Directive(1), are adequate to ensure their conservation and sustainable use. The directive restricts the practice of hunting to bird species listed in its Annex II which may be hunted under national legislation. Article 7 of the directive sets out the conditions for hunting so that this is carried out in accordance with principles of wise use and ecologically balanced control. Huntable species may not be hunted during the migration and reproduction periods when they are most vulnerable. The derogation scheme under the directive may only be applied to hunting in very limited circumstances where it is fully justified in the absence of alternative solutions. Member States may take more restrictive measures than those provided for under the Birds Directive. The Commission continues to work closely with Member States to ensure proper implementation of the legislation and where there are clear failures of compliance takes the necessary enforcement action.

(1)    Council Directive 2009/147/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 30 November 2009 on the conservation of wild birds (codified version), OJ L 20, 26.1.2010.