The LIFE BaĦAR for N2K project was set to establish a coherent network of marine protected areas in Malta by 2018.
As part of the project, Oceana’s conducted to at-sea expeditions in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Both expeditions used Oceana’s research vessel, the Ranger, equipped with a Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV), a single beam sonar, a dredge and various laboratory instruments.
The project was co-financed by the EU LIFE+ Funding Programme and led by the Malta Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA), in collaboration with the Ministry for Sustainable Development, the Environment and Climate Change, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the University of Malta and Fundación Oceana.
Based on the analysis of the results gathered by the expeditions, the project partners identified a list of proposed sites and delivered a proposal to the Maltese Government so that marine protected areas under Natura 2000 network may be designated.
Executive Summary: Benthic Habitat Research for Marine Natura 2000 Site Designation
Thanks to Oceana’s efforts as part of the LIFE BaĦAR for N2K project, the Maltese government announced the designation or expansion of eight marine protected areas in the Mediterranean in June of 2018. As a designation made under the Natura 2000 framework, national authorities are now responsible for drafting a management plan within six years – a key step toward ensuring the continued protection of these areas.