Earlier this week, the newly formed Malta Climbing Association, with the support of the Malta Climbing Club, signed a memorandum of understanding with the local hunters’ association, the FKNK with the aim of providing a broad framework for future collaboration. This with regard to the common enjoyment of the countryside and seacliffs within the context of the sometimes private ownership of the land where climbing is practised by hunters and trappers.
I will not delve into the reasons why this has come about, but this agreement should provide a platform for future discussions in a non-confrontational and mutually respectful way which will hopefully work to the benefit of both local climbers as well as the ever increasing numbers of foreigners visiting our shores to practise the sport. Climbers are becoming a very important segment of Malta’s sports tourism product and it is crucial that they can travel to Malta and Gozo to safely enjoy Malta’s world class climbing routes in harmony with other stakeholders including the hunting and trapping community.
The memorandum states:
Memorandum of Understanding between:
on behalf of rock-climbers the Malta Climbing Association (MCA) and on behalf of hunters and trappers the Federation for Hunting & Conservation – Malta (FKNK)
Whereas the members of both entities often frequent the same locations in the Maltese Islands, primarily in the countryside and along the coast in order to enjoy their respective recreational activity;
Whereas both entities’ members face similar concerns and issues relating to these areas of countryside and coastline, including issues of access as a result of private land ownership, environmental issues, and other issues which may involve negotiations with government entities, private landowners and non-governmental organisations for their resolution;
Whereas rock-climbers may, in the past, have had issues of access to certain climbing areas situated on private land, or whose access was through private land owned or rented by hunters and/or trappers, who will not be surrendering their right of private ownership as a result of the MoU;
Whereas the sport of rock-climbing is becoming increasingly popular with both locals as well as foreigners who are visiting Malta specifically for the purpose of climbing and whose contribution to the Maltese economy will continue to increase, making it important to create an environment in which hunters/trappers and climbers can enjoy a friendly relationship to their mutual benefit;
The MCA and the FKNK hereby therefore agree to assist each other to resolve, to the best of their capabilities, any issues where their interests overlap in matters relating, but not limited to the abovementioned;
The MCA and the FKNK also hereby undertake to facilitate the cooperation between both entities and their members in relation to charitable, philanthropic, environmental and other events which shall be deemed to be to the benefit of society in general.