Malta’s national marine monitoring programme is geared towards catering for the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD) requirements. However it also integrates monitoring requirements emanating from various marine-related policies, including requirements of the EU Water Framework Directive and the EU Nature Directives as applicable to the marine environment, and also those of the Barcelona Convention [Convention for the Protection of the Marine Environment and the Coastal Region of the Mediterranean] and its relevant protocols.

​The monitoring programme has a number of aims in relation to the MSFD. It should:

  • be geared towards the on-going assessment of environmental status; such ‘state monitoring’ should cover features, activities and pressures relevant for Good Environmental Status (GES), including monitoring of parameters as per Annex III to the MSFD;
  • assess progress towards achievement of GES and set environmental targets as reported in the initial cycles of the MSFD and updated thereafter;
  • assess the efficiency of measures to be stipulated through the Programme of Measures to be developed by end of 2015;
  • investigate causes for failing GES and the degradation of state, and to answer specific questions.

The monitoring programme encompasses monitoring strategies and  programmes for the different MSFD GES descriptors, and outline the monitoring processes to be applied for each theme or group of related themes, including monitoring parameters, methodologies and, marine reporting units / monitoring areas.

Malta’s monitoring programme adopts a risk-based approach that prioritises monitoring efforts in areas under higher pressures that are at risk and/or for ecological elements that are known to be more sensitive. The programme builds on existing monitoring procedures emanating from other policies (e.g. Common Fisheries Policies, Food Safety Regulations) to avoid duplication of monitoring effort.

The development of the monitoring programme is an iterative process and the programmes as reported will be updated on the basis of improved knowledge throughout the MSFD reporting cycles.

The Monitoring Programme is updated and published every six years.

First Cycle – Malta’s Marine Monitoring Programme

Second Cycle – Malta’s Update to the Marine Monitoring Programme