The Ċirkewwa Marine Park is funded by the Malta Tourism Authority and is implemented by Nature Trust FEE Malta. The aim of this joint collaboration is to establish a multiple-purpose zone with the aim of conserving the habitats and species present in the area while promoting sustainable tourism. The project started in October 2019, after several years of discussions on how to undertake the establishment of this Marine Park. This project is considered to be a milestone in the protection of marine ecology in Malta, undertaking the necessary actions in establishing and managing the first marine park, of its kind in Malta. The project started off by compiling existing information on local and international legislation, carrying out ecological surveys, and defining a vision and management objectives with an intensive 3-stage stakeholder engagement process.
The area established as the Ċirkewwa Marine Park encompasses three main dive sites and has been studied to have a high ecological value due to:
- Diverse geomorphological features,
- Healthy Posidonia oceanica meadows and
- Species of international conservation importance.
The Ċirkewwa Marine park falls under the Natura 2000 MT 0000112 site ( This designation was afforded in 2016 in order to protect three species of seabirds The Ċirkewwa Marine Park will now extend further with the aim of protecting the marine and coastal habitats at the site.
A ‘No stopping zone’ has already been designated, which makes stopping by any marine vessel (fishing or leisure boats) on the wrecks illegal to safeguard anyone diving in these areas and indirectly safeguarding the marine species occurring on these wrecks from one form of pressure. This was done through the Notice to Mariners No 2 of 2022.
The aim of this Marine Park is to be the first hands-on managed Marine Park, employing a working system that has proved to be successful abroad. The Ċirkewwa Marine Park took on a bottom-up management approach, involving stakeholders in a three-phase programme in drafting a customised management plan for the site. This was done to truly understand stakeholder needs and conflicts. An assessment of the site’s ecological requirements through field studies and analysis was conducted in parallel to stakeholder involvement, such that the drafting of the management plan could be carried out with a holistic view of the park and all issues which needed to be addressed.