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Title: Marine protected areas in the Maltese Islands : status and problems
Authors: Schembri, Patrick J.
Keywords: Marine parks and reserves -- Malta
Coastal ecology -- Malta
Issue Date: 1999
Publisher: Commission Internationale Pour L'Exploration Scientifique De La Mer Mediterranee
Citation: Schembri, P. J. (1999). Marine protected areas in the Maltese Islands : status and problems. Scientific design and monitoring of Mediterranean marine protected areas. CIESM Workshop Series No. 8, 45-7.
Abstract: At present there are no marine protected areas within Maltese territory. Fishing and/or diving and other marine activities are restricted in certain sea areas round the Maltese Islands; however, this is for reasons of safety, security and to preserve important wrecks and marine archaeological remains rather than for the protection of marine habitats and species, or for management of coastal fisheries. The closest to a marine protected area that the Maltese Islands have is the sea area round the island of Filfla, which is situated some 5km off the southern coast of the island of Malta. No other sea area is protected, although a relatively large number of coastal sites are. Two minor islands have been declared nature reserves: Fungus Rock in Dwejra Bay, Gozo (established by Legal Notice Nº22 of 1992), and Selmunett Islands, also known as St.Paul Islands, Malta (established by Legal Notice Nº25 of 1993); however, on these, it is only terrestrial biota and habitats that are protected. There are no legal problems in declaring marine conservation areas in Maltese waters and sites with critical or representative habitats, ecosystems and ecological processes that deserve such status have already been identified. However, lack of finances is slowing down the process of gathering sufficient data upon which to base management of such MCAs, while the infrastructure to manage these areas in a manner that ensures that the objectives of the management plans are attained still has to be set up.
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