Malta Marine Monitoring Consortium (M3C), comprised of AIS Environment Ltd (Malta) and AZTI Tecnalia (Spain), have been commissioned by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) to take on the project entitled “Implementation and updating of marine monitoring programmes, assessment of environmental status and development of a marine database system.”
The ultimate goals of this European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF 2014-2020) project are to devise a holistic approach towards marine monitoring and develop a comprehensive database of data collected about the Maltese waters. The database will be supplemented by relevant datasets obtained from numerous stakeholders and will be made publically accessible.
Marine waters are facing increasing pressures from human activities, which leads to the deterioration of the marine environment. Concrete data and information from the project will be used to develop better management practices to address these pressures. The project will assist in the implementation of Malta’s obligations as an EU Member State in relation to the marine sector.
As part of the project tasks, M3C are required to hold four stakeholder workshops and a final conference in order to disseminate knowledge garnered through the project’s implementation. The workshop held on 6th April, 2018 was the first of the four seminars to be held as part of this project. The main objectives of this particular session were to:
- Introduce the project and its main objectives
- Outline the progress of the project and some preliminary results
- Describe the proposed database and its purpose
- Invite comments from the attendees relating to the project components
Representatives from the ERA (Tamara Micallef and Lydia Koehler) and M3C (Yasmin Schembri) presented an introduction to the project and its relevant policy background. Entities such as MESDC, Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, Transport Malta, Planning Authority, Water Services Corporation, Department of Agriculture, Environment and Health Directorate, MCCAA, Malta Marittima Agency, Wasteserv, MGOZ, Funds & Programmes Division and University of Malta were represented at the workshop. The seminar was closed off with a Q&A session during which some comments were put forward by the attendees, most notably regarding the monitoring frequency and database.
The results of this project, including stakeholder feedback, will contribute to effective management and sustainable use of marine resources, for the benefit of the environment and of all marine sectors. Through this project, the environmental status of Malta’s coastal water bodies will be assessed, which will enable ERA to continue working towards achieving Good Environmental Status in our marine waters.
The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) is expected to absorb the full €1.6 million in public eligible EMFF funds (75% EU 25% MT), which were allocated for the implementation of the marine monitoring programme.