BirdLife Cyprus presented House president Annita Demetriou with 13,700 signatures on Tuesday it gathered to protest the relaxing of fines imposed on the illegal trapping of songbirds.
MPs passed a bill in December 2020 which saw the fines under the law protecting wild birds decrease from €2,000 to €200.
As it stands, killing up to 50 birds – from a list of 14 protected species – with a shotgun or trapping them with limesticks incurs a fine of just €200.
Many have argued that such a low fine is not seen as a barrier of entry into the illegal trade, but just as a cost of doing business.
BirdLife said that there is no real monetary deterrent, and that the illegal trapping has increased significantly during the autumn.
The NGO’s online petition calls for the reversal of the amendment as did a request by the European Environment Commissioner’s office, dated October 12.
The EU department queried the practicality of the law being enforced, as there is perceived difficulty in telling apart the various species of birds. It further called for the fine to be €2,000 and that it apply to all birds, instead of just 14 species.
As reported at the time, the bill was passed with 34 votes in favour – with only the Green Party rejecting the motion.
Arguments in favour reasoned that the previously steep fines were unenforceable and the now €200 fine will be more effective.