MALTA SEABIRD PROJECT - Creating an inventory of Marine IBAs for Puffinus Yelkouan, Calonectris diomedea and Hydrobates pelagicus in Malta

LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090

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Contact details:

Project Manager: Nicholas BARBARA
Tel: +35621347646
Email: nicholas.barbara@birdlifemalta.org

Project description:


The LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project (LIFE06 NAT/MT/000097) set a precedent for undertaking seabird research and conservation in Malta, with intensive fieldwork undertaken to ascertain key feeding and rafting areas for the Yelkouan Shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan) breeding colony at Rdum tal-Madonna, the largest of its kind in Malta. The research for this project was undertaken with the aim of trialling methods to identify Marine Important Bird Areas (IBAs) for this species and other seabird species, which will help the Maltese government designating Marine Special Protected Areas (SPAs). As a second output, the project has created a roadmap for the Maltese government to fulfil its obligations of designating Marine SPAs for all of its internationally important seabird colonies.


This new LIFE+ project is the logical progression of the EU LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project and uses the roadmap to address the designation of Marine SPAs for three important bird species, across multiple colonies, through the identification of Marine IBAs. These Marine IBAs will then be designated as Marine SPAs by the Maltese government.

Expected results:

    • Creation of a complete inventory of Marine IBAs for P.yelkouan, (Cory's Shearwater) C.diomedea, and storm petrel (H. pelagicus) breeding in Malta up to 25 nautical miles, through a combination of boat-based observations, telemetry and modelling, as per established BirdLife International criteria;
    • Designation of the relevant sites identified through this project as SPAs forming part of the Natura 2000 network in line with Malta’s obligations and its jurisdiction within the duration of the project;
    • Identification of Marine IBAs located within international waters (beyond 25 nm) for the project’s three target species, and recommendation of their classification as Marine Protected Areas under international Mediterranean Conservation Agreements, such as the Barcelona Convention or AEWA;
    • Production of a technical report detailing the overall inventory of Marine IBAs (in both territorial and international waters), including full details and maps of each site;
    • Enlargement and maintenance of the Central Mediterranean Seabirds at Sea database, following up the results of the LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project through the creation of a GIS database;
    • A report on the diets of the three target seabird species, particularly their main prey species;
    • A report on the quantification of conflict between nesting yellow-legged gulls (L. michahellis) and H. pelagicus on Filfla and methods to resolve this conflict (if any);
    • Reports of proceedings from a workshop aimed at countries within the Central Mediterranean concerning collaboration on the designation of shared Marine IBAs in international waters; and
    • Widespread dissemination of project actions to raise awareness of seabird conservation and Marine IBAs and SPAs of Malta and how Malta is working to achieve its international obligations.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds
Habitats - Marine


endemic species‚  marine ecosystem‚  protected area‚  island

Target species

 Calonectris diomedea   Hydrobates pelagicus   Puffinus yelkouan 

Natura 2000 sites

SCI MT0000006 Is-Simar (limiti ta' San Pawl il-Bahar)
SCI MT0000009 L-Inhawi tar-Ramla tat-Torri u tal-Irdum tal-Madonna
SCI MT0000015 L-Inhawi tal-Ghadira
SCI MT0000016 Filfla u l-Gzejjer ta' Madwarha
SCI MT0000017 Kemmuna u l-Gzejjer ta' Madwarha
SCI MT0000018 L-Inhawi tal-Buskett u tal-Girgenti
SCI MT0000011 Ghar Dalam



Coordinator BirdLife Malta
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description BirdLife Malta (BLM) is a non-profit organisation working for the protection of birds in Malta. It is the Maltese Partner in the global partnership, BirdLife International.
Partners Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), Malta The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB), United Kingdom Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves (SPEA), Portugal


Project reference LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090
Duration 01-SEP-2011 to 30-JUN -2016
Total budget 873,964.00 €
EU contribution 436,982.00 €
Project location Malta(Malta)


Read more:

Brochure "About the project"
Project web site Project's website
Project web site - 2 Project's blog
Project web site - 2 Project's Facebook page
Project web site - 2 Project's Twitter page
Video link "Eu Commissioner Karmenu Vella's address to the Mediterranean Seabird Conference" (4'15)
Video link "Eu LIFE+ : Malta Seabird project" (4'37)
Video link "Jack-in-the-box, update from our Yelkouan chick" (1'02)
Video link "Yelkouan Shearwater nest, territorial fight!" (2'40)
Video link "Yelkouan Shearwaters released after being stranded on land" (1'18)


Project description   Environmental issues   Beneficiaries   Administrative data   Read more   Print   PDF version