Intent and Objectives: Malta Yelkouan Shearwater Species Action Plan 2022-2030



Start date: 3 October 2022

Closing date: 31 October 2022

Title of the public consultation: Intent and Objectives: Malta Yelkouan Shearwater Species Action Plan 2022-2030

Ministry: Ministry for the Environment, Energy and Enterprise

Entity: Environment & Resources Authority

1. Background

In terms of Article 51 of the Environment Protection Act (Cap. 549), it is duly notified that the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) is preparing the ‘Malta Yelkouan Shearwater Species Action Plan 2022-2030’.

The Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) is a seabird species endemic to the Mediterranean and the Black Sea. The Maltese Islands are home to around 10% of the global breeding population of the Yelkouan Shearwater with an estimated population of 1,795–2,635 breeding pairs. This population is threatened by numerous pressures linked to anthropogenic activities including by-catch, rat predation, habitat loss and disturbance from light and noise arising from both maritime and land-based activities.

Management processes for the protection of this species should be established on the basis of all relevant policies, including the EU Birds Directive, the EU Birds Directive, the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive, the Protocol concerning Specially Protected Areas and Biological Diversity in the Mediterranean, and the Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Protection Regulations (S.L. 549.44).

The development of this Action Plan would build on the long-term Action Plan for the conservation of the Maltese Yelkouan Shearwater population, as developed through the LIFE Arċipelagu Garnija – LIFE14 NAT/MT/991 (2015-2020), in order to adopt a National Action Plan for the protection of this species and possibly extend such to cover all three breeding seabirds in Malta.

In this regard, the aim is to adopt such an action plan, for a management regime for the protection of the Yelkouan Shearwater that goes beyond site-specific objectives and conservation measures within protected areas, in order to provide holistic protection of this species which is susceptible to wide-ranging pressures.

2. Consultation

The main intent of the Yelkouan Shearwater Species Action Plan 2022-2030 is to lay down a way forward for the conservation and the improvement of status of the species’ local populations. The plan will be set for the achievement of the following objectives:

i. to sustain or increase the species’ reproductive success;
ii. to increase the species adult survival rate;
iii. to reduce fledgling light-induced groundings;
iv. to sustain the current extent of the breeding range;
v. to improve the availability and the quality of the species’ breeding habitat;
vi. to implement identified conservation measures for the Yelkouan Shearwater and evaluate their effectiveness within Natura 2000 sites.

The achievement of such objectives will be sought through management of anthropogenic activity that may result in pressures including inter alia rat predation, light disturbance and noise disturbance.
The following questions are being asked as part of this consultation:

i. Do you agree with the proposed intent and objectives of this action plan?
ii. Can the objectives be further refined, or should additional objectives/actions be considered?
iii. Do you have any further feedback or comments on the intent or objectives of this action plan?

3. Submission of feedback

E-mail: [email protected]

4. Further notes

Please be informed that comments submitted, together with the identity of the contributor, may be published online at the end of the public consultation, unless the contributor objects to the publication of his/her personal data. In this case, the contribution may be published in anonymous form.
All comments submitted shall be duly considered.

The draft Malta Yelkouan Shearwater Species Action Plan 2022 – 2030 will be available for public consultation in due course at the following web link.