Malta is an island nation lying in the Mediterranean with a coastline supporting a range of seabirds. The Maltese islands are home to approximately 10% of the world's population of Yelkouan Shearwater (LC) although recent years have seen population declines. Ohter priority species include the Cory's Shearwater (LC) and European Storm Petrel (LC). In Malta seabird research and marine IBA identification is coordinated by BirdLife Malta. The Yelkouan Shearwater Project, completed in 2010, was Malta's largest conservation initiative and is a partnership of four government authorities and three conservation organisations. BirdLife Malta has innovatively applied 4-km seaward extensions to current shearwater breeding site IBAs in order to cover offshore rafting activity. The EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater Project team also produced a report on the effect of light pollution in Malta on its shearwater populations and possible mitigation measures to be taken both locally near the colonies and at a national level. In 2011 the EU LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project started to prepare an inventory of marine IBAs for the Yelkouan Shearwater, Cory's Shearwater and the European Storm Petrel (of which Malta holds over half of the population of the Mediterranean subspecies.)
Key threats to seabirds in Malta include:
o Hunting and predation
o Shipping and bycatch
o Coastal development
o Light pollution
o Ensure continued management of the Yelkouan shearwater colony at Rdum tal-Madonna and continued monitoring of the species beyond the LIFE project.
o Identify marine habitat use for other seabirds in Malta such as Cory's Shearwater and the Mediterranean subspecies of the European Storm Petral with a view to describing their ecology and habitat range
o Ensure a commitment to the conservation of all seabird species through the identification and declaration of marine SPAs.
o Completion of the EU LIFE+ Malta Seabird Project
Government's support/relevant policy
Malta is one of the few Mediterranean countries which currently has no marine SPAs declared. Athough a Marine Protection Area Steering Committee has been set up with a view to declaring Marine Protection Areas including marine SPAs, no particular research by government is aimed at identifying marine SPAs. BirdLife Malta is the only entity carrying out such research and are awaiting analysis of data Please see policy tab for list of agreements that this country is party to.
Petrels and shearwaters
Gulls and terns
Ducks, geese and swans
IUCN Red List Status
The numbers in brackets refer to the country's rank when compared to other countries and territories globally.
o Raine H., Borg J.J. & Raine A. (2008). Marine Special Protection Areas : A report outlining national mechanisms being used to develop the marine IBA/SPA programmes across Europe with recommendations for Malta. BirdLife Malta & Heritage Malta, Malta.
BirdLife International (2020) Country profile: Malta. Available from http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/country/malta. Checked: 2020-01-28