Members of the Liopetri hunters association gathered in the Famagusta village on Tuesday night to protes against a law aimed at reducing poaching which was passed in June.
Speaker Costas Michael said the reason for the demonstration was that many members of the association had complained about the high fines imposed by the game fund in recent weeks, stressing at the same time that the association was not in favour of poaching.
“We agree that poaching must be fought for the good of hunting, but the effort to fight it by their officials and their zeal has exceeded every limit,” he said, citing “murderous fines”.
“We are gathering here to express our dissatisfaction and indignation at this situation, as we see the Cypriot hunter being hunted from everywhere, helpless and unprotected.”
At the protest, Michael urged politicians to make an effort to correct the state of affairs without excuses and without delay. He warned that hunters would only vote for those who would take action to remedy the situation “whether they are red or green or blue or whatever” and called for the members of the association to hand over their electoral books.
The new law introduced on-the-spot fines for all offenses while before its passing offenders were taken to court. Since its introduction hefty fines have been handed out.
On September 4 two men were fined some €13,000 after police found illegal trapping equipment and game on a property in the Famagusta district.
The case followed another fine imposed on a 67-year-old man in Larnaca for poaching. He was fined €21,586 for illegal bird trapping.
Conservationists are also against the new law, for different reasons. They fear that game wardens tasked with its enforcement may be in danger as they might be attacked by poachers in their line of duty.