January 6, 2022

Client: Environment & Resources Authority (ERA)


This marine monitoring project, lasting over 30 months, was by far the largest marine monitoring project undertaken locally. The monitoring surveys reached beyond the 25 nautical-mile boundary of the Maltese Exclusive Fishing Zone (EFZ) and covered a sea area of 6,700km2 - over 21 times the land size of the Maltese Islands!


In partnership with our partners AZTI, we carried out monthly marine monitoring surveys all over the Maltese Islands. The consortium also developed a database system to house all Maltese marine monitoring data. 


The Environment & Resources Authority (ERA) commissioned AIS to carry out one of the largest marine monitoring project to date. The monitoring was done in line with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD). 

Analytics and research

Collection of water/sediment samples and SCUBA diving surveys


AIS collected over 5,000 samples of water, seafloor sediment, fish and algae over a two-year period. Together with the underwater filming of over 400 km of seabed, this data now forms part of a knowledge database that will be used by anyone working in the maritime industry for many years to come. 

The field surveys included:

  • Contaminants in water and sediment

  • Contaminants in Posidonia oceanica

  • Contaminants in seafood

  • Physicochemical characteristics in water and sediment

  • Measurement of water currents

  • Nutrients in water

  • Phytoplankton and zooplankton

  • Mapping of algae around the Maltese coastline

  • Mapping of Posidonia oceanica around the Maltese coastline

  • Mapping of the maerl bed off the NE coast of Malta

  • Benthic macroinvertebrates

  • Alien (non-indigenous) species

  • Marine litter in water and on beaches



The results from this exercise (EMFF 8.3.1) were used by ERA to report the health (environmental status) of Maltese coastal waters to the European Commission. The results were also used to identify pollution sources and problem areas which need to be tackled to improve the health of our marine environment. All the work is documented in a report which were used for Malta's assessment of the status of Maltese waters in line with the MSFD.