The management and enforcement at the l-Għadira s-Safra and l-Iskoll tal-Għallis site will be strengthened, with further provisions related to the regulation of activities within this protected area.

This was announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia, who explained that a new protection notice issued by ERA this week will address the expansion of the protected area effected by ERA and the adjacent Għallis Rocks, enabling ERA to further enforce issues related to activities which have impacted the site, including the dumping of waste material, open fires and barbeques throughout the entire site as well as issues pertaining to the exploitation of species and the introduction of non-native species.

The Minister explained that the whole area supports a Natura 2000 site with unique transitional coastal wetland and maritime coastal communities which support various species of flora and fauna dependent on brackish waters during the wet season.

The Minister reiterated his commitment to protect key habitats and species to ensure their conservation for future generations. “Nature and biodiversity are not just a nice-to-have – they are essential. Essential because the quality of our air and our food, as well as the state of our economy and health, depends on it. To protect this, we need to also provide adequate protection and care to sites of ecological importance,” he said.

The new regulations will thus ensure further protection through the conservation and management of the natural habitats and species within the site and enable the easier implementation of conservation measures in the area.

The protected area is managed by Kaċċaturi San Ubertu (KSU) through a management agreement by ERA, which includes the implementation of various conservation measures, including amongst others restoration of wetland and maritime habitats and species, forestation and awareness actions.

To date, several interventions were carried out by KSU, including daily routine administration of the site, monitoring of biotic and abiotic features, tree-planting, removal of invasive alien species, installation of small temporary fresh-water ponds, as well as daily administration and monitoring amongst others.

Ambjent Malta has also offered its assistance with respect to the removal of invasive alien species and is also assisting KSU and ERA in a project whereby the site could host larger water bodies that could support a variety of water related species, including birds.

N.B. This press release was issued by DOI on behalf of The ministry for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning (MECP)

22 February 2021