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  • Author: Marielle Verret x
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Perceptions of the Maltese Public towards Local Marine Protected Areas

Abstract

The marine environment represents a central component of Maltaís local environment, and its ecosystem services play a vital role in supporting the economy as well as human well-being. Plans have been made to protect the unique ecology found within Maltese waters through the institution of five marine protected areas (MPAs). This quantitative study assessed the environmental knowledge and attitudes of the Maltese public towards the local marine environment, MPAs and education for sustainable development (ESD). A questionnaire was administered to members of the public (n = 200) at three different locations. The study found that although the Maltese public strongly appreciates the beauty of Maltaís marine environment, the level of knowledge surrounding the marine environment is low. Furthermore, the research indicates that while the public agrees that the marine environment should be protected, there is a notable lack of awareness of the five local MPAs. Based on the research findings, a model linking ESD to MPAs and aiming to foster a sense of ownership among the public by encouraging their involvement in the management of local MPAs is proposed.

Open access