time to explore with esplora
Underwater CCTV camera installed at the national aquarium
An underwater CCTV camera is currently being deployed at the Malta National Aquarium by the University of Malta. Why, we hear you ask? Simple! To enhance ongoing monitoring, reporting and awareness-raising efforts towards ecosystem protection. This is the first such deployment on the islands, and is in line with the EU’s drive in favour of innovative tourism, as part of the Blue Growth strategy, as well as with ongoing ocean literacy and Natura2000 dissemination activities.
Aaron Farrugia, environment minister, Julia Farrugia Portelli, transport minister and Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, parliamentary secretary for European funds, made the announcement during the launch of this initiative.
This particular project is part of the EU-funded HARMONY Italia-Malta project, which aims to protect marine biodiversity in the Italo-Maltese cross-border area.
“The main aims of this joint cooperation are to ensure that seabed integrity is safeguarded and to study the effects of phenomena, which are responsible for the spread of non-indigenous species in our seas. Such initiatives are significant because, with scientific research in hand, we as policymakers are in a position to develop informed policies and future strategies for the benefit of our ecosystems and, ultimately, wellbeing for all. I am confident that through these efforts, more research and findings will lead to better management of our seas, having a positive spill over effect on or robust Blue economy, which is a sector of great importance for Malta,” said Aaron Farrugia.
The tourism minister commended this initiative and said that the conservation of species and the marine environment is tied with the potential of diving tourism, one of the strong emerging markets of the Maltese tourism industry. She added that last year, more than 4.8% of inbound tourists were primarily motivated to visit Malta for scuba diving, and 178,960 took part in a diving experience whilst on the island!
Last year, the Malta National Aquarium, which is a world-class tourism attraction, welcomed 222,754 tourists. This commitment to quality continued during the pandemic, in which €600,000 were invested by the aquarium to improve the experience for its visitors.
She concluded that this exciting project serves as an example of the concept of virtual tourism, through which Malta can showcase the best of what our islands have to offer to entice visitors in the post-pandemic times.