The Malta Independent 22 July 2019, Monday

Fish farm federation concerned over reports of fish carcasses close to land

Wednesday, 26 June 2019, 16:39 Last update: about 25 days ago

The Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers (FMAP), on behalf of its members, is worried by the recent reports of the sighting of a number oftuna heads, carcasses and whole tuna in a high state of decomposition.

"To date, the Cleansing and Maintenance Divisionhas collected more than five (5) tuna heads which have been illegally caught and discarded at sea. While earlier today, a headless tuna carcass has been reported, it is proof of the illegal activity being perpetrated by unknown individuals on our sea. All these carcases have been reported and collected around Saint Thomas Bay in Marsascala which, is in itself, indicative of the fact that the person carrying out this illegal activity or fish theft from tuna cages so that it can be commercialised illegally is doing so from this area."

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"Unfortunately, it seems that the phenomenon of illegally caught bluefin tuna, whether being a result of fish theft from tuna cages or a consequence of illegal fishing from the surrounding sea, is more common than what one thinks and this year seems to have increased when compared to previous years", said the Executive Head of the Federation  Charlon Gouder.

He appealed for the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture to take action against this illegal activity and not to allow the irresponsible actions of this person/persons to cast a shadow on the industry. "People are right in complaining when they are being faced, whilst swimming, with carcases of this type resulting from this illegal activity. Nowadays, the department is equipped with the appropriate boats to enable the necessary inspections that have to be carried out continuously, and therefore there should be no reason for this illegal activity to continue with impunity."

Even though these heads and carcases do not originate from the activities of its members, the Federation is engaged in general discussions with the Cleansing and Maintenance Division, in order for its members to be able to provide assistance with the use of their vessels, as well as to promote the sharing information in order to allow for timely interventions when faced with similar complaints.

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