The INTERREG V-A Italy-Malta Program promotes integrated development between Italy and Malta in highly technological sectors, contributing to smart, sustainable, inclusive growth. It aims to develop areas of common interest for the territories, such as environmental protection, territorial and maritime safety, cultural heritage, quality of life, and citizens’ health.
The project aims to create a new tool for MPA management that allows for direct involvement of all stakeholders (public entities, fishermen, citizens, tourists, etc.) through awareness and environmental education actions.
MPAs play a crucial role in marine environmental protection. They are ideal tools to address three priority needs for the sustainable development of coastal and marine areas: conserve marine biodiversity, maintain ecosystem productivity, and contribute to the economic and social well-being of human communities. If managed correctly, Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) serve as the driving force in the integration process between the needs for resource protection and development, ensuring an improvement in the quality of life for coastal populations and the presence of suitable facilities to promote a deeper understanding and greater respect for natural systems. In the project, two fundamental aspects have been considered for the proper management of MPAs:
Planned with the aim of fostering environmental awareness among users of Marine Protected Areas concerning issues of environmental sustainability, protection, and conservation of ecosystems and protected species.
Targeted at primary and secondary school students, focusing on themes such as MPAs, protected species, and ecosystems.
Developed in parallel with on-site environmental awareness campaigns.
Created or strengthened on the islands of Gozo, Favignana, and Ustica. Integration includes structural services from existing centers or the potential creation of new centers according to defined standards.
The center aims to facilitate the adaptation of MPAs to regulations, promoting interaction and knowledge exchange among various stakeholders involved in the proper management of MPAs.
Aimed at contributing to the reduction of the impact of small-scale fishing gear on biodiversity. Experiments involve the application of fishing gear capable of decreasing catches of non-target species (echinoderms, sponges, etc).
Training programs aimed at diversifying the activities of artisanal fishing operators to reduce the impact on fishery resources, such as “Pescaturismo” (fishing tourism) and “Ittiturismo” (fish-based tourism).
The regulation will serve as a useful tool for the rational management of professional small-scale fishing activities, with a perspective on safeguarding the local environmental and cultural heritage.
Nearly 230 square kilometers of Marine Protected Areas undertaking joint actions for the conservation of biodiversity.