Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Managing Marine Space and its Potential as an Economic Resource - Project Study

UM LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course



DEPARTMENT Geosciences

DESCRIPTION Within this study-unit, participants will be asked to prepare a holistic report on the legal and policy context, as well as on possible environmental and planning issues, concerning a proposed hypothetical offshore project located within a selected site within Malta's territorial waters. Prior to such an exercise, participants will be exposed to seminal literature and datasets defining the basic hydrographic and physico-chemical characteristics, ongoing economic activities and legal designations of the Maltese territorial waters. Despite this, participants will be expected to delve much deeper into the theme by conducting extensive independent research to unearth additional literature in support of their subsequent assignment.

Participants are expected to extensively apply Marine Spatial Planning principles they were trained in within earlier stages of the Course during such an exercise. The report prepared individually by each participant will be presented to the rest of the class during a session involving an eclectic iteration between a panel of experts and the same participants who will be expected to address questions concerning the content of their presentations.

Study-unit Aims:

1) To assist students in identifying the ocean governance framework applicable to the given hypothetical scenario;
2) To familiarise students with the salient environmental and socio-economic issues generated through the proposed project;
3) To assist students in identifying the major stakeholders operating within the earmarked marine site;
4) To assist students in understanding the impact that the proposed project will have on the environmental assets, conservation status and existing human activity within the earmarked marine site;
5) To formulate a series of implementation and siting recommendations based on the tenets and precepts of ocean governance assumed in the preceding study-unit.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1) Understand the environmental and socio-economic implications that major projects proposed within the marine domain will have;
2) Recognise the legal provisions envisaged for such proposed projects within the prevailing ocean governance framework;
3) Identify the conflicting interests of different stakeholders operating within the marine domain;
4) Describe the predominant ocean governance framework which should be applied during marine spatial exercises, including local, regional and international legislation;
5) Define the basic tenets of Marine Spatial Planning in seeking to mitigate environmental impacts and reduce socio-economic conflicts arising from the proposed project.

2. Skills
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

1) Outline the salient steps which should be followed in determining the suitability of a marine site for housing a major proposed project;
2) Tap into the most useful marine datasets and literature in assessing objectively the impacts of a proposed project;
3) Conduct a complete marine site selection exercise with the aim of housing/accomodating major projects whilst keeping socio-economic and environmental conflicts at a minimum;
4) Apply stakeholder identification techniques in identifying different stakeholder categories when embarking on consultation exercises;
5) Demonstrate a working knowledge of Marine Spatial Planning tenets in improving on the implementation aspects of the original project proposal.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main texts and online resources

- Deidun, A., Borg, S. Micallef, A. (2011). Making the case for Marine Spatial Planning in the Maltese Islands. Ocean Development and International Law 42:136–154.
- Drago A., Cordina G. et al. (2004). Building the best future for the marine sector in the Maltese Islands. ‘A Vision Towards Enhancing the Marine Sector’s Contribution to the Maltese Economy in 2020’, eFORESEE Marine Pilot Foresight Project, Malta.
- IOC guide to Marine Spatial Planning:
- National Statistics Office:
- State of the Environment Report:

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-Requisite qualifications: At least a first degree in the marine sciences, management, engineering or maritime law.

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Fieldwork, Grp Learning, Indep Study, Lect & Semi

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Sept. Asst Session Weighting
Presentation (15 Minutes) SEM1 No 15%
Assignment SEM1 Yes 85%

LECTURER/S Alan Deidun
Robert N. Farrugia
Carmen Mifsud


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2023/4. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.