Right in the center of the Mediterranean Sea, the Maltese Islands are well situated for monitoring regional marine biodiversity changes. Among the latter are the increasing alien species coming in through the Suez Channel and the Straits of Gibraltar or brought in through various anthropogenic vectors. The non-native species that turn into invasive do not only affect native marine communities but also the aging and shrinking Maltese small-scale fisheries (SSF) community. SSF are predicted to go extinct and with them their well-known colorful artisanal fishing boats with the eyes of Osiris, which were thought to protect them. In the meantime, large-scale fishing activities have been growing through EU and national legislations, promoting profits over long-term conservation of natural resources and cultural heritage of small fishing communities. This chapter considers the relevance of a changing marine environment and the challenges ahead to safeguard Mediterranean biodiversity, which provides its goods and services to man. The role of well-managed sustainable small-scale fisheries in overcoming some of these challenges is considered.
Part of the book: Selected Studies in Biodiversity