Nature Trust Malta - News
Fri, Jun 14, 2013
Ducks killed at il-Maghluq Marsascala
A case of animal abuse has taken place at il-Maghluq in Marsaskala also known as the duck pond. The salt marshland which can be found near the centre of Marsaskala and which is now home to dozens of ducks and their young, has been recently subjected to vadalism and resulted in the killing of two ducks. Further ducks were seen floating dead during the next few days.
Il-Maghluq is a Natura 2000 site categorised as an SAC, Special Area of Conservation. The water there is a result of fresh water from the surrounding villages meeting the sea water from the inner bay in Marsaskala. The area was used as an early form of aquaculture until the middle of the 20th century. However when the road and promenade were built the construction resulted in the severance of the flow between fresh and salt water, leaving the enclosed area subjected to stagnation. Despite inserting pipes to aid the flow, the natural circulation was lost.
The introduction of the ducks, led to a decline in the health of the marshland. The ducks lured in rats and sources state that the construction of the new bypass disturbed the rats and sent them fleeing to Marsaskala, infesting the roads and the marshland until the Local Council took action and removed the infestation.
Throughout the years, the marshland became a dumping site littered with glass bottles, icecream cups and takeaway containers.
‘The site will be undergoing a management plan as part of the Natura 2000 network plan, however the state of the area and the welfare of the ducks must be addressed immediately’ said Vince Attard, Executive President of Nature Trust who is helping the Local Council restore the area.
Now is the hatching season and many of the ducks are sitting on their eggs, making them more vulnerable to danger. The NGO abhorred such behaviour and stated ‘We urge the public espcially those who have been throwing the stones at the ducks to take a step back and show some humanity to these living creatures. We shouldn’t tolerate such behaviour any more and such incidents should be reported immediately to the police’.
The NGO urges the authorities to find a suitable place for the ducks to be rehomed so as to avoid any further degradation on the sensitive ecology of the area.
The Mayor from Marsaskala Local Council added that the Council had carried out several meetings with government entities over the years, but all had fallen on deaf ears.
A spokesperson from Friends of Marsakala who have been working to help make Marsaskala a better place to live, emphasised the importance of reporting such incidents to the local police on 21827103 or Animal Welfare on 22924132, 22924113.
Tue, Jun 11, 2013
NTM welcomes EU Parliament Shark Finning Ban
‘Nature Trust applauds the final mark for a new finning ban regulation. The ngo thanks the other ngos involved, Sharklab, Din l-Art Helwa, Greenhouse, Getupstandup and Sharkman’s world, the MInister and shadow Minister, our MEPs and the general public who for 7 years have been lobbying, speaking out and finally making the decision to end sharkfinning.’
This new regulation will see that sharks caught are landed at port in one whole that is with fins and all. This will enable scientists to identify and keep track of shark speies caught and at the same time eliminate the possible abuse of sharks being sold as other fish at the markets in the EU countries.
Nature Trust (Malta) has been working very hard for many years. Through its lobbying Malta was one of the first European countries who granted protection to some shark species way back in the 1990s. This lead to other countries following this example.
Sharks are endangered and on the verge of extinction. Being on the top of the food chain if sharks were to disappear from our oceans the result could be catostropic. Sharks have been on this planet for millions of years before even mankind appeared. Millions of sharks are killed every year by man making their worst predator mankind rather than the other way round and many like to believe
Other Info – Reuters http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/06/us-eu-sharkfins-idUSBRE9550NI20130606
Thu, May 23, 2013
More than 3100 beaches and 625 marinas were awarded the world’s leading eco-label for the 2013 season by the Blue Flag International Jury on 19 April in Copenhagen, Denmark.
“It is wonderful to see the increasing number of sites but perhaps more importantly the improvement in quality, both of beaches and marinas,” said Malcolm Powell, Chair of the Jury and member of the FEE Board of Directors.
Helen Springall, an expert in environmental education and jury member, added: “I was particularly impressed by range and quality of environmental education activities that have been presented to us,” she said.
The International Jury also congratulated two new countries that fully implemented the Blue Flag programme in 2013 and welcomed Israel (with 11 sites) and Mexico (with 5 sites) to the network.
Orly Babitzky, Israeli National Operator said: “We are very happy and proud of the acceptance of Israeli beaches and marinas in to the Blue Flag family. We hope that the implementation of the Blue Flag programme in Israel will bring rapid and positive change to the environment and to the experiences of beach users.”
The full list of awarded sites will be published on 29 May on the international Blue Flag website where the users can also find detailed information about the services or facilities for disabled people.
“It is important for the public to know which services they can expect on our sites, “explained Sophie Bachet, Blue Flag International Director. “Having wheelchair access to the beach or to the water makes a huge difference, or having access for the visually impaired can make a huge difference to people’s holidays!” she added.
The next meeting of the Blue Flag International Jury takes place on 10 September to award beaches and marinas from the Caribbean, South America, Africa and southwest Pacific.
The International Blue Flag Jury is composed of representatives from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International Lifesaving Federation (ILS), the European Environment Agency (EEA), the European Union for Coastal Conservation (EUCC), the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), an Environmental Education expert, the International Council of Marine Industry Associations (ICOMIA) and FEE.
In Malta the following Beaches have been awarded the Blue Flag
Fond Ghardir Sliema, St George’s Bay St Julian’s, Bugibba Perched Beach Bugibba, Qawra Rocky Beach Qawra, Mellieha Bay Mellieha, Paradise Bay Hotel Beach, Mellieha, Ghajn Tuffieha Bay Mgarr and Ramla il Hamra, Gozo. Golden Bay Was awarded Beach of Quality.
Nature Trust (Malta) is the local representative of Blue Flag International
Wed, May 22, 2013
St Thomas’ Bay gets pampered for Clean up the Med
In just under three hours a group of cubs and other volunteers filled a skip to ther brim and over during a clean up at St Thomas’ Bay.
On Saturday morning when most people are having a well deserved lie in bed, The Tarxien Cubs and members of the Friends of Marsaskala Society , got up early and joined Nature Trust in the Legambiente – Clean up the Med initiative which is carried out around the Mediterranean Sea. The location chosen was the coast along St. Thomas’ Bay and the volunteers received a talk about the ecological importance of the area.
The initiative to clean up the beaches has become an important task especially during the summer months. Malta’s beaches are frequented by thousands of people each summer, the result being waste which is not disposed of properly.
The children and other volunteers decided to carry out the clean up prior to summer as most of Malta’s coast would have already gathered waste dumped throughout the year and washed up by the sea. The importance of a clean sandy beach is to ensure the safety of humans as well as the creatures that inhabit or visit it. Marine turtles are known to nest on Maltese beaches and Nature Trust is ensuring that beaches are kept clean during the nesting season. ‘The reason we carry out cleanups on coastal areas is not only cosmetic but from a conservation side to ensure the safety of the creatures who share the beaches with us. If the waste is not removed it will eventually find itself in the sea causing harm to marine turtles, dolphins and sea birds’, said Nature Trust.
The ngo also stated that they receive many marine turtles injured from swallowing plastic and entangling in nylon. The ngo added, ‘Cleaning the beaches manually is a method we are aiming for and we are starting this by the help of our volunteers, the reason being that by not using heavy machinery, we are safeguarding any possible nests.
However the main aim of last Saturday’s activity was to make the cubs aware that even though they are still young, their efforts in helping to have a cleaner environment are much appreciated and most valued. Their enthusiasm could be felt through the work they carried out tirelessly and happily. Besides plastic gloves, some of the cubs brought well worn socks to help protect their hands and arms better. Making good use of these socks before discarding them helped the cubs to understand better the meaning of REUSE.
The Friends of Marsaskala who have worked hard to make Marsaskala a better place to live, believe that by doing a clean up one is also raising awareness and sending out a positive message to locals and visitors to dispose of their waste in the right manner. ‘I cannot understand why there is so much dumped waste in Malta, when the facilities and services of waste collection are so frequent and reliable’ said a spokesperson for Friends of Marsaskala. Another volunteer adding that with a little bit of effort and team work, one can make a place look wonderful.
The volunteers wish to thank Marsaskala Local Council for its ongoing support. Nature Trust (Malta) organises regular cleanups wihile raising awareness on the ecology of the area. Those interested in organising a clean up can contact Nature Trust on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 21313150. Ghaqda San Tumas commended the volunteers on their hard work and wish to invite the public for the Show of Arms experience at Rihama Battery on the 26th May at 15.00.