Malta has a territorial sea of 3,800 km2, a contiguous zone of almost 11,000 km2, and fishery management conservation zone of almost 11,500 km2. It does not have a national marine spatial plan.  The principal legislation for spatial planning in Malta is the Development Planning Act of 2016 that also addresses development at sea. Subsidiary legislation under this Act is being prepared for the transposition of the EU MSP Directive. Under the EU Directive on Maritime Spatial Planning Malta will be required to implement a maritime spatial plan by 2021.

Malta does have a Strategic Plan for Environment and Development (SPED), approved in 2015, that has only one page devoted to “Maritime Strategic Objectives”. The Plan provides a strategic spatial policy framework for both the environment and development up to 2020, complimenting the government’s social, economic and environmental objectives direction for the same period. The SPED is based on an integrated planning system that:

  • Ensures the sustainable management of land and sea resources together with the protection of the environment; and
  • Guides the development and use of land and sea space.

The governmental agency that has responsibility for MSP in Malta is the Environment and Planning Agency (MEPA).

For more information, see the European MSP Platform website (



Authority:National legislation
Lead Planning Agency:Environment and Planning Agency (MEPA).
Financing:Total funding for planning: less than US$1,000,000. Sustained funding for implementation not known or approved at this time.
Size of Planning Area:10,000-50,000 km2
Time required to complete the plans:2-4 years
Drivers of MSP:Need for a more integrated approach; Economic growth concerns; Perceived conflicts among uses, e.g., marine mining v. fishing; Perceived conflicts between uses and nature conservation, e.g., marine protected areas; Marine conservation or biodiversity concerns; New and emerging uses of the marine area, e.g., wind energy, aquaculture.
Stakeholder participation:Throughout the MSP process.
Sectors included in planning:All
Relation to coastal management:Strong connection to adjacent coastal management program
Relation to marine protected area management:MPAs planned under a separate process.
Plan approval:Plan approved by government or relevant authority
Legal Status of Plan:Advisory/Strategic
Plan revision:Review/revision more than every 5 years
Performance monitoring and evaluation:Plan has not been revised yet