The Malta Independent 20 September 2020, Sunday

Fish farm operators reach self-regulatory agreement on cleaning up the sea

Monday, 3 August 2020, 18:42 Last update: about 3 months ago

75% of fish farm operators have reached a self-regulatory agreement on cleaning up the sea.

The operators are members of the Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers (FMAP).

This is third consecutive year whereby such an agreement has been reached and the commitments that are pledged in the agreement go well beyond the obligations in their environmental permits, the FMAP said.

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The operators represented by FMAP are pledging to abide by high standards to enhance the reputation of the tuna industry, which is one of Malta’s major exporters, acting as a supplier to the Japanese market.

The deal covers all members of the Federation, which represents more than 75% of operators in Malta. The undertakings include training employees to collect slime, keep all marine installations clean and free of rubbish and flotsam, source baitfish of the highest quality and ensure that whenever boats are at a loading bay, with bait fish on board, they are equipped with booms to ensure the capture of any slime that is lost.

The operators will also adopt feeding and harvesting practices designed to minimise any potential effects on the environment, the federation said.

An independent inspection body will be appointed, at the expense of aquaculture operators, to monitor and report back. It shall implement a rapid slime detection system through patrols on a daily basis, starting from 7am, from Zonqor Point to Tal-Ahrax.

The Federation has pledged that all waste will be carefully disposed of, in accordance with the law. It has agreed to keep a register of all complaints made to it, the results of any investigations undertaken, and steps taken to rectify issues.

The Chief Executive of the Federation of Aquaculture Producers, Charlon Gouder, said: “the members I represent are proud to make these commitments. Their desire is for a sustainable industry, operating to the highest standards. They produce a high-quality product and contribute to Malta’s balance of trade, and their desire is to be seen as highly responsible when it comes to the environment. These commitments come at a cost, but well within our parameters to see this industry grow in a sustainable manner”.

 

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