A critical analysis of beach management systems and processes on the Maltese Islands, focusing on public and key stakeholder perceptions

  • Marie Louise Zammit

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


This research examines the approach towards the management of beaches in the Maltese Islands. Specifically, this research aims to assess the perceptions of the processes of, and approaches to, beach management focusing on beach users and stakeholders’ views, to develop an integrated and sustainable framework for the future. The implementation of Integrated Coastal Zone Management with a focus on beach management in Europe, the Mediterranean and Malta are characterised. The need for beach management, its strategies and concept are also evaluated. The beach management in the Maltese Islands is evaluated, covering both the historical and current processes and approaches and highlights the major issues being faced by Maltese beaches. Four case studies around Malta having a specific type of criteria were chosen to examine the problems related to the management of beaches in detail. The results obtained from the beach users’ (n=225) and online questionnaires(n=203), as well as the stakeholders’ semi-structured interviews (n=19), were examined and assessed. This was done to understand how beaches are being used, to highlight key issues and, based on the results, propose recommendations to increase the effectiveness of beach management. This research has discovered namely that in the Maltese Islands: there are no management plans or policies that focus specifically on beaches, management is fragmented between various authorities, there is a lack of vertical communication and public participation in management decisions, beach management is only practiced during the bathing season and lack of monitoring and enforcement. In this regard, this research has developed an integrated and sustainable model that could assist managers in developing management plans for each beach and be able to enforce, monitor and review it. This research concludes that even though there has been a significant improvement since the Blue Flag was implemented, other aspects should also be taken into consideration for an integrated approach towards beach management. This research contributes to the wider knowledge by including public and stakeholders’ participation in beach management, identifies key issues and recommendations of how a beach could be improved and develops a step-by-step model specifically for Small Island States like Malta.
Date of AwardSept 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorJonathan Potts (Supervisor) & Caroline Day (Supervisor)

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