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Notice Reversal Raises Concerns Over Conservation Areas in Malta

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In a surprising turn of events, a recent reversal of the Notice to Mariners has sparked controversy over the protection of Conservation Areas in Malta. The initial notice, which banned all forms of navigation in these areas, excluding diving support vessels, has now been amended.

Transport Malta, acting on behalf of the Department of Fishes and Aquaculture, issued Notice to Mariners, modifying the permissions within Conservation Areas. The revised notice now permits surface fishing activities, including trolling line (rixa) and angling for pelagic fish, as long as a safe distance is maintained from the position of wrecks.

Sea to Sky

This unexpected U-turn reinstates the previous status quo, allowing fishing boats to traverse near the conservation zones, covering only a few hundred square meters around wrecks. The allowance of boats into these areas not only poses risks of near misses but also encourages other vessels to navigate, irrespective of their fishing activities.

Over the years, numerous near misses have been reported, endangering Freedivers and Scuba Divers, and causing disturbances to marine life due to noise. In a region where diving is a valued niche and contributes significantly to quality tourism, substantial investments have been made in scuttling wrecks and marketing the diving product.

Protecting the immediate zone around these wrecks has been considered essential to safeguard the marine environment. However, the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, the entity responsible for declaring these zones in the absence of a relevant authority managing diving sites, seems to have a different perspective.

The decision has raised questions among concerned citizens, prompting inquiries to relevant authorities and drawing attention to the matter with both local and international entities. This article aims to shed light on the issue and encourages readers to voice their dissent by sharing it with like-minded individuals who prioritize the protection of the marine environment. It calls on authorities to demonstrate courage in safeguarding these vital “Conservation Areas.”


La Galigo

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The Scuba News Press Team are constantly on the hunt for great news articles from the world of scuba diving!

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