Occupation: Senior Environment Protection Officer
Specialty: Marine biodiversity
Best part about my job: The best part is the work I try to do on turtles and cetaceans, including trying to elaborate policy for their better conservation. I also love the variety of duties my job provides me with, even though it gets quite difficult to work in detail and for an extended period of time on one aspect only. Thus I have to tackle many many varied things at the same time, such as: policy, monitoring, marine protected areas, reviewing EIAs and setting up better conservation measures for marine turtles, marine vegetation, cetaceans and other protected marine biodiversity, not to mention attending to new directives being elaborated in Brussels on nature aspects particularly in the marine environment. However what is nice is that they all interact and I can get a better holistic picture of the situation.
Biggest challenges I face: Getting across the importance of marine biodiversity versus the traditional emphasis on endeavours that render high economic yields like fish farming and tuna penning. For example, trying to get across the fact that a highly valued development cannot happen as originally designed because of some important and protected marine species that may be found only in that place.
The most unusual or exciting thing that’s happened to me while working in the field: Seeing the turtles nest and the hatchlings coming up from the sand when on a training course in Cyprus which was possible through the aid of the Regional Activity Centre for Specially Protected Areas in Tunis.
Why I like being a member of the MTSG: This gives me great opportunity to keep up to date on what’s going on and to learn from the best renowned experts in this field.
Turtle researcher / conservationist I most admire: Ricardo Sagarminagra, Flegra Bentivegna, Scott Eckert and Larry Crowder.
When I’m not working on turtles I like to: It’s rather the case that I have to work on many other aspects of marine biodiversity, not just marine turtles, as explained above. However, as hobbies, I love diving and teaching to dive, appearing on TV to get through the message of conservation and the importance of marine turtles. I also like to play tennis and squash…. But lately don’t have much time for any of these hobbies.
Ten years from now, I hope I will be doing: I hope to get more involved in the “rehabilitation” centre that we have in Malta and to be able set up better standards and better conditions for the turtles there. I also hope to have established a better system for local fishermen not to catch so many turtles incidentally (and hopefully introduce the use of circular hooks or other good methods which lessen the byctach of turtles) and hope to discover or get help to discover any important feeding grounds or important migration routes that may exist around the Maltese Islands, in order to protect these habitats and consequentially to better protect our turtles.
Relevant links to find out more about me and my work: Malta Environment & Planning Authority