The Habitats Directive lists a number of marine habitats present in European waters, identified as being of “Community interest”. These are: shallow sand banks, seagrass meadows, reefs, underwater caves and several formations originated by gas emissions. Member States are required by this Directive to determine the presence of these habitats in their waters and protect them. In Malta, under the LIFE + BAHAR for N2K project, we will work on three of them: reefs, sandbanks and caves. Today, after a week carrying out our at-sea expedition looking for reefs in the deepest areas, we stayed closer to the coast looking for caves. Thanks to our divers and the ROV, we surveyed a good stretch of the southwest coast of Malta, between 0 and 40 meters deep, looking for underwater caves. Despite the walls of this part of the coast being extremely vertical, both above and below the sea surface, many species of Mediterranean fauna can be found along their various cavities and ridges, as our divers documented. We haven´t found any caves yet, but it is our first day dedicated to this habitat and there are still many stretches of coast to investigate and many days of our campaign. We´ll keep looking!
© OCEANA / Carlos Minguell