Fri | Oct 19, 2018

NEPA warns bird shooters against jumping the gun

Published:Friday | August 10, 2018 | 12:00 AM
A local bird shooter tries to bag another one during the season.

Ignorance of the law will not save bird shooters caught hunting ahead of the official start of the 2018 game bird season, which gets under way on Saturday, August 18, and runs until Sunday, September 23, warns Morjorn Wallock, director of legal services and enforcement at the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

"We can confirm that persons have already started shooting in St Catherine. We have solid information that they are doing this," she told The Gleaner yesterday. "We want them to know that if we find them and they are charged and convicted in the parish court, they are likely to face fines of up to $100,000 or a prison sentence of up to 12 months," she added.

While acknowledging that persons could be operating out of ignorance, the legal officer said that breaches of the Wild Life Protection Act would not be tolerated.

"In some cases, there seems to be a genuine lack of understanding. They seem to believe that the season has started, but not knowing the law is not a defence," she insisted.

For the first time since 2014, NEPA is hosting two workshops with hunters to remind them about the areas where bird shooting is allowed, the birds that may be hunted, as well as bag limits, and the importance of operating within the designated hunting sessions, among other issues.

The first forum was held at the Wexford Hotel in Montego Bay, St James, on Wednesday, and the findings from research on game birds and matters relating to the management and the impact of invasive species such as the white-tailed deer will be among the issues discussed today when NEPA representatives meet with game bird hunters in Kingston. That forum is set for the Knutsford Court Hotel, New Kingston, from 6-8 p.m.

christopher.serju@gleanerjm.com