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Habitats of the Maltese islands (20)

Marine habitats (6) - Protection of ecosystems

Sea turtles are harmed from eating disposed plastic bags which they mistake for jellyfish.

Sea turtles are harmed from eating disposed plastic bags which they mistake for jellyfish.

Marine ecosystems are made up of various marine habitats, which also cover a wide range of physical, chemical and geological differences. These are of particular value and are to be afforded protection.

It is in view of this that marine protected areas are designated. These afford protection to the important habitats and species present within the marine environment. In Malta two such protected areas have already been designated: the first in 2005 covering the area between Rdum Majjiesa and Ras ir-Raħeb and the second in 2007 in the limits of Dwejra, Gozo. Various marine species are also protected through national legislation.

Noting the importance of marine habitats and species, we should avoid causing pressures in the marine environment, so as to prevent the deterioration of the health of marine biodiversity. This is vital because the marine environment provides us with food and water. So we should not throw waste into the sea, to safeguard biodiversity, which includes us humans. Sea turtles, for instance, are harmed from eating disposed plastic bags which they mistake for jellyfish. Over-exploitation and introduction of species outside their natural range also pose an impact on the marine environment.

Further work is being considered by the relevant authorities to further enhance the protection of Malta's marine waters. But this also depends on each and every one of us!

Should you require more information, please contact nature.requests@mepa.org.mt.

The United Nations declared 2010 to be the International Year of Biodiversity. Malta together with many other countries around the globe is carrying out a number of initiatives to celebrate life on earth and the value of biodiversity for our lives.

We are all invited to take action in 2010 to safeguard the variety of life on earth: biodiversity.

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