An exhibition has been set up at the Malta National Aquarium to raise awareness of local marine habitats and the importance of their collective protection.

This exhibition, titled ‘Malta’s Blue Wonders’ and set up by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA), features Malta’s underwater heritage through photography and is open to the general public for free. It features several new habitats and species around the Maltese islands that have been discovered through the LIFE BaĦar Project.

This was announced by Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia who spoke about the importance of the marine environment for our islands and our economy and explained that ERA has designated over 35% of Malta’s waters as Marine Protected Areas which have also been added to the European network of Natura 2000 sites.

Malta’s dependency on sea activities remains comparatively high compared to other member states due to the island’s small land area, which therefore needs to be exploited as much as possible to generate wealth and employment for the benefit of all citizens. The blue economy sector contributes approximately 15% to Malta’s overall economy and generates over 27,000 jobs”.

The minister explained that it is vital to strike a balance between economic growth and environmental preservation, also because the two are intrinsically linked. He said that our country relies in part on the blue economy which allows us to develop our resources and run important industries and sectors such as transport, tourism, and fishing, while also preserving our intangible resources such as traditional ways of life and our coastal resilience.

The protection of the marine environment is one of the main functions of the Environment and Resources Authority. This exhibition is intended to expand the knowledge on the need of protecting the marine environment and the importance of the involvement of every one of us in this process,” ERA CEO Michelle Piccinino said.

The public is encouraged to visit this free exhibition at the Malta National Aquarium to experience and appreciate the magnificence of our marine surroundings. This exhibition is open daily from February 18 to May 16 between 10 am to 6 pm all week long and no bookings are required.

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

18 February 2021