€3.5 million co-financed with European funds invested in the project 'Life PanPuffinus!'
Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights Anton Refalo and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi together with BirdLife Malta have launched another EU-funded scientific study which aims to improve the conservation status of two endemic seabird species in the Mediterranean Basin.
The 'LIFE PanPuffinus!' project is a unique transboundary collaboration in which Malta has now joined forces with its BirdLife partners from four other countries (France, Greece, Portugal and Spain), as well as Malta's Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Greece's Management Body of Cyclades Protected Areas. This collaboration will tackle two major threats that the Yelkouan Shearwater and the Balearic Shearwater encounter throughout their entire life cycle, both terrestrial and marine; predation by invasive mammal species on land, and accidental capture by fishing gear (bycatch) at sea.
Minister Refalo addressed the launch and described the project as another steppingstone in a series of initiatives that the government is implementing which are aimed at the protection of the environment and sustainable development. He said that this Ministry's active support to the project and the co-financing of 40% in national funds strongly confirm the commitment to actions and projects, which also aim at the preservation of endangered species and the strengthening of the blue economy. Expressing his confidence that this collaboration with BirdLife Malta will yield successful results, Minister Refalo described 'LIFE PanPuffinus!' as an excellent example of how national and European funds can be combined in order to achieve actions that benefit both the local environment and, in extension, the European environment as a whole, with tangible results that positively impact the everyday lives of the Maltese people.
Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi explained how the 'LIFE PanPaffinus!' project is spearheaded by BirdLife Malta together with various other organisations in Europe with an investment of €3.5 million, whereby more than €2.1 million are all funded with European funds. He said that this project is proof that when member states collaborate and work closely together, better results can be achieved in a more effective manner. Dr Zrinzo Azzopardi stated that, in this case, this collaboration will lead to a better environment ensuring the preservation and conservation of the two endemic Mediterranean seabirds.
The €3.45 million project, co-funded by the European Union's LIFE programme and Malta's Ministry for Agriculture, Fisheries, Food and Animal Rights, will run for five years, until 2025.