Hunting licences will not increase in price this year, out of consideration for the public which is financially struggling, Minister of Interior Socrates Hasikos has confirmed.
Hasikos said that despite requests by the Games Services to raise the licence fee in order to generate funds for programmes to deal with the diminishing number of hares it will, for this year at least, remain the same.
"Everyone involved in the hunting industry has been ordered to think of alternative ways to raise these funds. The idea to increase the licencing fee has been put on hold for this year as we are in the midst of a financial crisis and the public does not have the money it once used to."
According to the Games Services, hunting related revenues this year have dropped considerably as the effects of the crisis continue to take their toll on the economy.
Revenues from the sale of shotgun hunting licences are expected to fetch a mere €3.5 million this year compared to €5.8m in 2013 while revenues from poaching fines are also expected to be down in 2014 reaching an estimated €155,000.
Last year €4.5m was generated from the sale of shotgun licences alone.
The Game Services said its ability to replenish the hare population, which has been diminishing in numbers in recent years due to an increase in the number of foxes and disease, has been seriously affected by lack of funds.
"Unfortunately this year we do not have the resources to monitor all areas under our jurisdiction meaning that poachers will be able to operate more freely."
Suggestions have been made for the police to increase cooperation with the services and assist in anti-poaching operations and monitoring.