International seminar on Marine Protected Areas to be held in Malta

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International seminar on Marine Protected Areas to be held in MaltaEuropean and African participants from 11 countries next week will meet in Malta for an international seminar on Marine Special Protected Areas. The international seminar aims to establish criteria for the designation of protected areas at sea through seabird research.

The seminar and workshops are organized by the EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project in collaboration with BirdLife International’s Global Seabird Programme and will take place between the 20th and 22nd of October, at the Aula Magna, Old University Building in Valletta.

On Tuesday Maltese officials from MEPA, OPM, Malta Centre for Fisheries Sciences and Heritage Malta will deliver presentations varying from Malta’s initiatives in setting up marine protected areas to potential tourism benefits of these protected areas to an international audience of scientists and seabird experts.

BirdLife International partners from Mediterranean countries together with United Nations Environment Programme representatives will be meeting Maltese NGos and government officials with the aim of increasing international cooperation on potential Mediterranean marine protected sites outside National Jurisdiction Waters.

Malta is important for several seabird species in the Mediterranean as an estimated 10% of the world’s population of Yelkouan Shearwater as well as significant populations of other seabird species such as Cory’s and Storm Petrel which breed in the Maltese islands.

The EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project is a partnership between Heritage Malta, the Malta Maritime Authority, the Malta Centre for Fisheries Sciences the Armed Forces of Malta and BirdLife International partners in the UK, Portugal and Malta. The project is 50% sponsored by the EU Life Unit with additional support from MEPA and HSBC Cares for the Environment Fund.

Photo: Marine feeding areas for rare or vulnerable species need to be designated as protected areas. Seen here are shearwaters and dolphins feeding at an offshore site in Malta. Photo by John J. Borg.

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