The Elisabeth Mann Borgese (EMB) Bursary of the International Ocean Institute (IOI) was established as a means of demonstrating recognition to the host country of the IOI – Malta – for hosting the IOI Headquarters and for providing facilities for staff and offices at the University of Malta’s Msida campus. The Bursary is financed through the IOI and constitutes a further recognition and acknowledgement of the role of Prof. E. Mann Borgese, founder of IOI, and of her considerable achievements.
The EMB Bursary funds will further extend the scope of this current work by enabling the design of additional research which could not be afforded prior to the award. Characterisation of the VMEs in Maltese waters is of great relevance to address existing knowledge gaps on these habitats, thereby providing the information needed to draft monitoring and management plans, since some human activities (e.g. deep-water trawling and mooring of fish aggregating systems) may eventually result in habitat homogenization and fragmentation with dramatic consequences to associated biota.
The 2018 EMB Bursary awarded to Ms Marija Pia Gatt to carry out research titled 'Rationalising Malta’s marine space: application of MSP methodologies to deliver the first comprehensive marine spatial plan for Malta’s territorial waters' is nearing completion and Ms Gatt is expected to successfully conclude her research in the next following weeks. The aim of the research conducted by Ms Gatt was to deliver a comprehensive marine spatial plan for the territorial waters of the Maltese islands to ensure the sustainable use of marine resources and safeguard important marine habitats and species.