These are some of the laws related to diving services, Underwater Cultural Heritage and Fisheries around the Maltese Islands. Additional laws may also be relevant. By no way are the below laws all of them. If you think any additional laws should be included, please do Contact us.
Receational Diving Services
Diving Centres are regulated by the Subsidiary Legislation SL409.13 – “Recreational Diving Services Regulations”.
- “The aim of these regulations is to establish the licence and other requirements for service providers in the field of recreational scuba diving.”
- “apply to any physical or legal person offering recreational diving services to the public and any other person employed by such physical or legal person to carry out any of the duties prescribed in these regulations”
The regulations’ enforcement falls under the Malta Tourism Authority.
You may access these regulations at the following link.
Underwater Cultural Heritage
The Cultural Heritage Act, Chapter 445 of the Laws of Malta, includes a special section related to Underwater Cultural Heritage.
- This Act empowers the Superintendent of Cultural Heritage to declare remains found on the seabed that are situated in the territorial waters of Malta and are at least fifty years old as Underwater Cultural Heritage;
- It may also declare particular areas as protected zones;
- It appoints custody of historic shipwrecks and objects within the scope of the act; and
- Obliges reporting of discoveries.
You may access this Act at the following link.
The Fishery Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 425.01, regulates certain types of fishing, which of particular interest to divers, include fishing nets and fishing within bays.
The Fish Marketing Regulations, Subsidiary Legislation 425.02 bans the retail or acting as a hawker unless in possession of a licence from the Director in charge of fisheries.
The Fishing Vessels Regulations, Subsidiary legislation 425.07 regulates fishing vessels, and most notably in regulations 18 and 19, requires fishing gear to be marked with the vessel’s number.
The European Union Council Regulation 1967 of 2006 (directly applicable in Malta as a member of the EU) also bans the use of spear guns whilst using underwater breathing apparatus, as well as during the night (dusk till dawn)
Legal Notice 146 of 2013 imposes a two-year moratorium (ending in July 2025) for harvesting of sea-urchins.
Click on links above to access the relative regulations.
You may report illegalities on +356 2292 6990 (May 2023), lost fishing gear for retrieval on T: 2292 6888
(Old numbers) F: 8007 2240, T: 2292 6888, M: 9967 4933,
Trammel net prohibited zones (Link removed, but the map is saved below)
Transport Malta notices
The transport regulator issues several notices every year, some of which are relevant to divers. Below is a selection on the main ones.
- Notice 42 of 2017 – Safe Distance from Special Mark Buoys indicating a Wreck
- Notice 48 of 2017 – Safe Distance From Wrecks – Updated
- Notice 27 of 2019 – Fitting of AIS on Commercial vessels visiting Archeological Sites
- Notice 08 of 2020 – Further to notice to Mariners 51 of 2019 regarding Archaelogical Zones at Sea – Superintence of Cultural Heritage
- Notice 002 of 2022 – Conservation areas around wrecks
- Notice 003 of 2023 Safe Distance from Divers’ Flags
- Notice 04 of 2023 – Archaeological Zones at Sea – SCH – Consolidated List Jan2023
Maritime Enforcement can be contacted on tel: 22914407
Click on each link to access the notice. Additional notices may be found at the following link.
Principally falling under the responsibility of the Environment and Resource Authority, the main regulations fall under Chapter 549, the Environment Protection Act within the Laws of Malta.
The main legislative act also has further Subsidiary Legislation which might be of interest to the Marine Environment, such as:
- SL. 549.35 Marine Mammals Protection Regulations
- S.L. 549.38 Trade in Species of Fauna and Flora Regulations
- S.L. 549.39 Freedom of Access to Information on the Environment Regulations
- S.L. 549.44 Flora, Fauna and Natural Habitats Regulations
- S.L. 549.62 Marine Policy Framework Regulations
- S.L. 549.119 Control of Invasive Alien Species of European Union Concern Regulations
- S.L.549.120 Species Protection(Designation of National Species) Regulations
Under the oversight of the Superintendent for Public Health, one may find the following Sea-food sale prohibition, unless a special permit is issued.