Start / Finish Dates: August 2012 – June 2013
The Marine Protected Area extending from Rdum Majjiesa to Ras ir-Raheb on the northwest coast of the Maltese Islands covers 11km of coastline. This area showcases the main marine habitats occurring around the Maltese Islands and harbours a number of rare and threatened habitats as well as species which are protected and/or are of conservation interest.
The project was coordinated by MEPA and co-financed by the European Union’s European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) under the Programme MED- MedPAN North. Its aim was to establish one or more trails within the Marine Protected Area (MPA) of Rdum Majjiesa to Ras ir-Raheb. It involved surveying of the area to identify potential routes for trails.
The project was initially intended to establish one trail for both snorkelers and SCUBA divers. However, following detailed evaluation of the site and extensive stakeholder consultation, it was decided that the trail be limited to snorkelling activities. As a result, two trails instead of one were devised – one in each of the two most popular bays in the MPA: Ghajn Tuffieha and Ir-Ramla tal-Mixquqa (Golden Bay).
The trails start at the shore and follow a seaward route through 11 stations. Each station explains the various habitat types, flora and fauna that one encounters in shallow waters in these bays. Waterproof information booklets – in Maltese and English – were produced for both bays. These booklets can be used by snorkelers interested in following the trail and learning more about the underwater environment.
Publicity for the trail has been provided through leaflets made available in hotels, an information panel at each beach, posters at the beach notice board, and an advert on “Beach News” a publication by the Malta Tourism Authority.
The project was delivered in partnership with Ecoserv Ltd.
Keywords: underwater trail, snorkelling, Marine Protected Area