LIFE Arcipelagu Garnija - LIFE Arcipelagu Garnija - Securing the Maltese islands for the Yelkouan Shearwater Puffinus yelkouan

LIFE14 NAT/MT/000991

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Contact details:

Contact person: Paulo LAGO
Tel: +356 2134764 5/6
Email: paulo.lagobarreiro@birdlifemalta.org

Project description:


The Yelkouan shearwater (Puffinus yelkouan), which is endemic to the Central and Eastern Mediterranean region, is listed in Annex I of the Birds Directive and Annex II of the Bern Convention, and accordingly receive special conservation measures across Europe. Due to drastic population declines the status of the Yelkouan shearwater was recently downgraded to ‘vulnerable’ according to IUCN criteria. More than 10% of the world’s Yelkouan shearwater population breeds in Malta. To date, BirdLife Malta and partners have made various efforts to understand and tackle the main threats causing the decline of the species both at land and at sea. The LIFE Yelkouan Shearwater project (LIFE06 NAT/MT/000097) secured the largest colony in Malta, and the LIFE+ Malta Seabird project (LIFE10 NAT/MT/000090) helped identify marine SPA sites for the species and other seabirds. In the light of previous achievements, it has become necessary to prepare the ground for a long-term recovery of the species in the central Mediterranean islands of Malta.


The LIFE Arcipelagu Garnija project aims to:

  • Ensure the long-term recovery of the species in the central Mediterranean islands of Malta, by increasing the knowledge of colony sites, number of breeding pairs and reproductive output, and prevalent terrestrial threats;
  • Reduce the direct and indirect human-caused threats by managing them through informed concrete conservation actions;
  • Increase the number of breeding pairs by approximately 10% and the reproductive output of the majority of the breeding colonies by 25%; and
  • Tackle the targets of relevant policies, such as Malta’s National Strategy and Biodiversity Action Plan (2014-2020), Marine Strategy Framework Directive, Birds Directive and the Integrated Monitoring Programme of the Barcelona Convention.
  • Expected results:

  • Reduced threats for the 13 nesting colonies and increased reproductive output at the target sites;
  • Decreased disturbance of the nesting colonies, thanks to the better attitude and behaviour of boat owners and operators, and of other users responsible for the organic littering of the target areas;
  • Improved policy such as that on light pollution and the management of an offshore island (Comino) that will be used as a sanctuary for Yelkouan shearwaters; and
  • National Species Action Plan for the Yelkouan shearwater in Malta.



Environmental issues addressed:


Species - Birds


endemic species‚  environmental impact of tourism‚  tourism‚  environmental law

Target EU Legislation

  • Nature protection and Biodiversity
  • Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats (01.06.1982)
  • Directive 2009/147 - Conservation of wild birds - Birds Directive (codified version of Directive ...
  • COM(2011) 244 final “Our life insurance, our natural capital: an EU biodiversity strategy to 2020 ...

Target species

 Puffinus yelkouan     

Natura 2000 sites

SCI MT0000009 L-Inhawi tar-Ramla tat-Torri u tal-Irdum tal-Madonna
SCI MT0000017 Kemmuna u l-Gzejjer ta' Madwarha
SCI MT0000001 L-Inhawi ta' Ghajn Barrani
SCI MT0000022 Il-Gzejjer ta' San Pawl (Selmunett)
SCI MT0000024 Rdumijiet ta' Malta: Ir-Ramla tac-Cirkewwa sal-Ponta ta' Benghisa
SCI MT0000026 Il-Qortin tal-Magun u l-Qortin il-Kbir
SPA MT0000027 Rdumijiet ta' Ghawdex: Ta' Cenc
SPA MT0000028 Rdumijiet ta' Ghawdex: Id-Dawra tas-Sanap sa Tal-Hajt
SPA MT0000029 Rdumijiet ta' Ghawdex: Il-Ponta ta' Harrux sal-Bajja tax-Xlendi
SPA MT0000030 Rdumijiet ta' Ghawdex: Il-Ponta ta' San Dimitri sal-Ponta ta' Harrux
SPA MT0000031 Rdumijiet ta' Malta: Ix-Xaqqa sa Wied Moqbol
SPA MT0000032 Rdumijiet ta' Malta: Ras il-Pellegrin sax-Xaqqa
SPA MT0000033 Rdumijiet ta' Malta: Wied Moqbol sal-Ponta ta' Benghisa



Coordinator BirdLife Malta
Type of organisation NGO-Foundation
Description BirdLife Malta is the largest and longest established environmental NGO on the Maltese Islands, with over 50 years of activity. At present, BirdLife Malta manages three nature reserves, campaigns on issues that affect birds and biodiversity (including illegal hunting), reaches 80% of primary age children with its educational work and undertakes research in birds to ensure the success of its conservation efforts. BirdLife Malta has been the coordinating beneficiary of three other LIFE Projects (LIFE06 NAT/MT/00097, LIFE07 INF/MT/000554 and LIFE10 NAT/MT/00090).
Partners TM(Transport Malta), Malta RSPB(Royal Society for the Protection of Birds), United Kingdom


Project reference LIFE14 NAT/MT/000991
Duration 01-SEP-2015 to 31-AUG -2020
Total budget 1,261,940.00 €
EU contribution 757,220.00 €
Project location Malta(Malta)


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