Conservation objectives and measures for Marine Protected Areas are being launched for public consultation, Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia and Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) CEO Michelle Piccinino announced.
The minister explained that this document by ERA is an important milestone for the management of Malta’s marine waters to achieve conservation of marine habitats and species.
“As a small island at the centre of the Mediterranean, the marine environment defines us as a nation. It has influenced our history and shaped our traditions and economy. Approximately 15% of Malta’s economy is still dependent on the marine environment today. When compared to the contribution of the Blue Economy to the EU this estimate is relatively high, however, justified, considering the high dependency of a small island state on its main natural resource – the marine environment. This highlights the importance of using marine resources sustainably and to protect our marine environment; not only to safeguard livelihoods, the food and the array of services provided by such waters but also to protect the incredible diversity of life and the source of beauty associated with our seas. One of the most effective tools for achieving such protection is the designation of Marine Protected Areas: delineated marine areas managed for conservation of the marine environment,” the minister said.
Eighteen (18) Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) covering over 4100km2 or 35% of Malta’s Fisheries Management Zone were designated. These areas seek the conservation of various seabed habitats, including Posidonia meadows, sandbanks, reefs, and caves, as well as marine species including dolphins, turtles and seabirds. The current measures as issued for public consultation provide the strategic direction which will lead to the development of a specific management regime for the MPAs geared at improving or maximising the contribution of the sites to the maintenance or achievement of the desired conservation status of these habitats and species.
ERA CEO Michelle Piccinino said that this is the first step that will lead to strengthening protection by designing and implementing measures for the management of our marine environment.
The public is being invited to have a say in this management process through the public consultation processes.
Further information can be obtained through here.
This public consultation will be open until 5 September 2021.
10 July 2021