August 24, 2017
With the 2017 Game Bird Shooting Season now underway, scores of police officers are better able to identify and prosecute breaches of Jamaica’s hunting laws. This, as members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) participated in a recent island-wide series of training workshops with the National Environment and Planning Agency (NEPA).
The sessions, which were also attended by Game Wardens, 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.
Morjorn Wallock, Director of the Legal and Enforcement Division, said the sessions allowed the JCF to interact with and get clarification from NEPA ahead of the season to help ensure symmetry between the two teams as they monitor the hunters’ activities during the six-week period.
While in the field, hunters must ensure that their NEPA issued licences are always on their person. Hunters are also only allowed to shoot during certain times of day on the weekend and must shoot no more than 20 game birds during a session.
Ms. Wallock said The NEPA/JCF team will be out conducting checks 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,” Ms. Wallock stated.
Ms. Wallock is urging all hunters to comply with NEPA and the JCF in the field. The 2017 Bird Shooting Season began on Saturday, August 19 and will end Sunday, September 24.