Resource Unit Section

The role of the Fisheries Resource Unit is to collect and analyse data relevant to Maltese fisheries, and sound information about the state of fisheries resources primarily within the 25 NM Fisheries Management Zone around the Maltese Islands and within GSA 15, and probe the most effective measures to manage them. The fisheries resource unit also takes part in international meetings where data is analysed and from which scientific advice towards the regional management of fisheries emanate. Finally, it participates in various projects which deal with different aspects of data collection, analysis for the provision of scientific advice and marine spatial planning.

The Fisheries Resource Unit objectives are the following:

·         Collecting sound transversal (such as fishing activity, capacity, effort, catch and landings), biological and economic data from the fisheries sector, in accordance with international requirements such as the European Union’s Data Collection Multi-Annual Programme, the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM)’s Data Collection Reference Framework, and the resolutions of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT);

·         Analysing the collected data in order to study trends and assess sustainability of the fishing practices and trends;

·         Give scientific advice on the way forward and the best possible way to manage the available stocks;

Projects in which the FRU participated:

·         Data Collection Multi-Annual Programme: The collection of fisheries data is regulated through the European Union Fisheries Data Collection Multi-Annual Programme (DC-MAP).. Malta covers the areas of fishing capacity and effort, catch and landing statistics, biological parameters, including both métier and stock related variables, scientific surveys (MEDITS & MEDIAS) and economics of the fishing fleet, fish processing and aquaculture industries. The programme thus contributes to a better knowledge of the main fishery resources of Malta from the biological, economical, and social points of view. In addition to EU obligations, Malta also collects fisheries data in accordance with ICCAT recommendations  and the requirements of the GFCM. Data collected for the purposes of ICCAT includes data on catches of blue fin tuna, swordfish and other large pelagic species in particular on landings, tuna harvesting, and age data.

·         Gap 2: Gap 2 was a pan-European project which focused on collaborative research – encouraging fishers, scientists and policy-makers to carry out scientific research together, and using this research to help inform and shape policy. The aim of the project was to facilitate meaningful engagement with stakeholders, so that solutions could be developed for sustainable fisheries and fishing communities. The Maltese case study focused on better management of the trawler fisheries fleet within Malta’s 25 NM Fisheries Management Zone.


·         MANTIS:  The project name stands forMarine protected areas: network(S) for enhancement of sustainable fisheries in EU Mediterranean waters’.  This project falls under the MARE/2014/41 Tender and its aims are:

o    To review and integrate the knowledge produced in previous national and EU funded projects on space time dynamics of exploited living resources and on Ecosystem Approach to Fishery in the Central Mediterranean

o    To investigate how a network of MMAs (Marine Managed Areas) can contribute to improve sustainable fisheries in the Central Mediterranean including the Strait of Sicily and the Adriatic Sea, whilst promoting ecosystem services such as reservoirs of biodiversity and functioning food webs.

The objectives will be developed in two case studies: Central-Northern Adriatic (GSA17) and the Northern Sector of the Strait of Sicily (GSA 15, 16).  Other adjacent areas will be considered when appropriate.  This project started in January 2016 and has a duration of 36 months.

The Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture is involved in an EU funded project named MANTIS (Marine Protected Areas Network Towards Sustainable Fisheries in the Central Mediterranean). The project aims to protect habitats that are critical for commercial species. A meeting between researchers, decision making authorities and stakeholders whose activity depend upon the fisheries resources in the Adriatic is being organised in Spilt on the 25th May 2017. Further information can be found in the below link:​s/futuree​vents​​


·         Strengthening regional cooperation in the area of fisheries data collection in the Mediterranean and Black Sea: This project falls under the MARE/2014/19 Tender and the overall aim is to lay out a regional work programme outlining the planned activities and the corresponding timeframe and costs, including costs/benefits, in relation to the current implementation at Member State level. This regional work programme here defined as Multiannual Regional Work Programme will include a Regional Sampling Programme for 2016 covering Commercial Fisheries, a Regional Sampling Programme for 2016 covering the Data Collection on Fisheries Impacts on the Ecosystem and Procedures to Quality Assessment of Biological Data at regional level.  This project started on 8th April 2015 and has a duration of 12 months.


·         MedSudMed: This FAO project was launched at the end of 2001. Four countries participate in this project: Italy, Libya, Malta and Tunisia. The main objectives of the project are to increase the scientific knowledge on the ecosystems of the project area, strengthen national and regional expertise, and develop scientific cooperation in order to promote the standardisation of the methodologies used in fisheries research;


·         Life+ Bahar: The aim of this project is to identify new marine-protected areas and to designate them as Sites of Community Importance to form part of the Natura 2000 Network.   The project will focus primarily on marine benthic habitats listed in Annex I of the Habitats Directive  that are present in Maltese  waters up to the 25 nautical mile boundary, namely: underwater sandbanks, reefs and caves.


·         CopeMed II: The overall objective of CopeMed II is to maintain the sustainability of the marine resources in the central and western sub-regions and its ecosystem, taking into account environmental, biological, economical, social and institutional issues, particularly through the promotion of scientific cooperation among the countries.


·         MESMA:  MESMA was an FP7 project which dealt with monitoring and evaluation of spatially managed marine areas. MESMA provided guidance and tools to support the implementation of marine spatial planning in Europe’s seas. These included advice, tools and information on human uses, biotope classification / distributions, governance processes and different approaches to conflict management. It also provided a firm basis for the further design and implementation of Marine Spatial Planning policies especially the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD);


·         CREAM: The purpose of the CREAM project was the establishment of an effective collaboration network among key role players in Mediterranean and Black Sea fisheries research and management. The participants in the project included national research institutes from Mediterranean and Black Sea countries with a long history and active participation in fisheries research and assessment, who provide advice to national, regional and international fisheries management organisations;


·         MAREA: The aim of the MAREA (Mediterranean hAlieutic Resources Evaluation and Advice) consortium was to provide scientific advice and/or other specific preliminary services according to the following Terms of Reference 1) Assessment of the state of aquatic living resources and advise on fisheries management scenarios; 2) Ecosystems knowledge and its integration into fisheries management; 3) Monitoring of specific fisheries and fishing gears not included or insufficiently covered in the data collection framework or fr which such a work has not yet been done or is not going to be done on the short-term or on a regular basis; 4) Effects of pollutants and of other human activities at sea on aquatic leaving resources and fisheries. The project included the collation of existing scientific and bibliographic information, the collection of new scientific and technical information, including, where appropriate by carrying out surveys or trials at sea and in the ports, the carrying out of scientific evaluations and modeling, the analysis of data quality, identification of and access to independent expertise and studies.

European Maritime and Fisheries Fund 



​FRU benefits from having participated through data, training courses attended by FRU staff, contacts with experts and working relationships, and a range of tools and techniques which can be used for fisheries management.