Comino, Friends of the Earth Malta

Sustainability on the island of Comino

By all accounts, Salvu Vella is considered to be the custodian of the small island of Comino, between the islands of Malta and Gozo. A self-taught engineer and inventor, Salvu is always thinking about new projects – from boat building to chemical-free pest control for his fields. In addition to this, he is an organic farmer, a fisherman, a beekeeper, as well as being the person who greets people when they arrive on the island. For the last 60 years, he has been living in harmony with nature on this breathtaking site, tilling the land and fishing to support himself and the island’s three other remaining residents.

Today, human impacts on Comino’s environment are growing in line with increasing pressure from tourism. Boatloads of day-trippers flock to the island in summer, and the island’s only seasonal hotel has plans to expand.

These threaten one of the last relatively pristine islands in the region: environmental degradation on Comino is much less evident than on nearby Malta or Gozo. Indeed, it is an important bird sanctuary, and a designated Natura 2000 site because of its rich biodiversity.

Friends of the Earth Malta considers Salvu to be one of the key people who can maintain Comino’s charm in the face of these environmental threats. For the past few years Friends of the Earth Malta has been developing a project which aims to turn this unmanaged small island into a fully managed area, leading to the conservation and regeneration of the island’s native fauna and flora.

“I have no favorite spot on the island. Comino is all equally beautiful, but if I think of bays, I consider St. Maria bay to be my port, my home. Comino is special to me, because regardless of where you compare it to – Malta, Gozo or anywhere else in Europe – you will not find a place as quiet and peaceful as this island.”SALVU VELLA

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