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Maltese study contributes to international book on biodiversity studies

Maltese artisanal fishermen and changing marine biodiversity feature in a new international book, Selected Studies in Biodiversity, that covers case studies from throughout the world. The chapter entitled ‘Safeguarding marine biodiversity in a changing world: Maltese small scale fisheries and alien species’, presents the importance of conserving biodiversity through effective research monitoring and management involving collaboration with fishermen.

The scientific work has been authored by Maltese biodiversity conservation researchers Dr Adriana Vella and Dr Noel Vella who have been undertaking detailed investigative work on local marine species, including those of interest to the local fisheries industry, for many years. 

Interesting aspects that have been concerning Maltese fishermen are considered side by side to the conservation concerns of a changing marine environment. The latter also includes the ever increasing presence of alien species.  Timely assessment of the ways marine life is changing is essential for effective biodiversity conservation and sustainable fisheries, say the authors.

Blue economy and its progress also depend on understanding and managing natural resources to maintain viable stocks and self-regenerating communities of marine life.  Apart from degradation through various forms of pollution, local artisanal fishermen have often had to deal with competition with different commercial activities that encroach on their fishing zones.

As climate change promises to alter distributions of marine species in the Mediterranean, the authors suggest that more than just focusing on localised and stationary conservation management in marine protected areas, there should be investment in the best monitoring and research practices that constantly provide timely and accurate information to guide fishermen and conservation management in order to adapt to the changing requirements. 

The authors of this chapter have authored various other peer reviewed publications on marine species and alien species across the Mediterranean. Anyone interested in knowing more may contact them on adriana.vella@um.edu.mt.

Dr Vella leads the Conservation Biology Research Group at the University of Malta and is active in various conservation projects. Dr Vella is currently undertaking a post-doctorate research project at the CBRG-UM.

The open access chapter is available at: www.intechopen.com/books/selected-studies-in biodiversity/safeguarding-marine-biodiversity-in-a-changing-world-maltese-small-scale-fisheries-and-alien-species.

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