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Cops retrained in bird-shooting regulations

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Scores of police personnel have participated in an islandwide series of training workshops to sharpen their knowledge of Jamaica's hunting laws in preparation for the 2017 Game Bird Shooting Season.

The six-week season runs from Saturday, August 19 to Sunday, September 24.

Game wardens also attended the workshop, staged by government environment regulator, the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).

The sessions focused on the Wild Life Protection Act, environmental legislation in Jamaica and the Hunters Licences Regulations. The lawmen also got a refresher's course in the procedures of arrest and prosecution, and in the chain of custody of confiscated birds.

Director of NEPA's Legal and Enforcement Division Morjorn Wallock said the sessions allowed the police to interact with and get clarification on issues from NEPA to help ensure symmetry between the two teams as they monitor the hunters' activities during the period.

While in the field, hunters must ensure that their NEPA-issued licences are always on their person. They are only allowed to shoot between sunrise to 9:00 am and 2:30 pm to sunset on Saturdays; and from sunrise to 9:00 am on Sundays.

Wallock said The NEPA/JCF team will be checking to ensure participants in the season adhere to these and other hunting regulations. She added that the monitoring activities are just one aspect of the agency's overall management of the country's game bird population, which she said is a year-round process.

“Prior to the declaration of the season, NEPA's environmental officers collected data on the population of game birds. This information helps to determine the length of the season, the number of sessions that will be allowed and the amount and types of birds that can be shot in each session. These activities, along with monitoring, help ensure the harvest of game birds is sustainable on a long-term basis,” she explained.

Wallock, meanwhile, urged hunters to comply with NEPA and the JCF while in the field.

She reminded hunters that only the Zenaida Dove/Pea Dove, White-winged Dove, Mourning Dove/Long-tailed Pea Dove and the White-crowned Pigeon/Bald-pate may be hunted. By contrast, she stressed that the Ring-tailed Pigeon and Mountain Witch birds are protected species and should not be shot during the 2017 bird shooting season. These birds are found only in Portland.

“It is an offence to shoot these protected species and persons who do so are liable to prosecution,” NEPA said.

Of the 20 birds that may be harvested during a single session, no more than 15 should be White-crowned pigeons. The feathered head of each bird must be retained on the body for inspection.

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