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Tuna fishing | Malta must respect EU directives, says Galdes

Parliamentary secretary for fisheries Roderick Galdes reassures fishermen that his door ‘will always be open’, commits to be present for the yearly annual general meeting.

Miriam Dalli
30 March 2013, 12:00am
Parliamentary secretary Roderick Galdes addressing an annual meeting of the national fish cooperative.
Parliamentary secretary Roderick Galdes addressing an annual meeting of the national fish cooperative.

Parliamentary secretary for agriculture, fisheries and animal rights Roderick Galdes said that Malta will stick to and respect European directives on tuna fishing.

Addressing a general meeting organised by the national fish cooperative, Galdes heard fishermen complain that despite being equipped to fish for tuna, yet they couldn't do so.

Brussels has applied stringent rules for blue fin tuna fishing in the Mediterranean as part of a 15-year recovery plan.

The measures include the presence of observers on fishing boats and surprise inspections to ensure no over-fishing occurs. The rules form part of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlanttic Tuna (ICCAT) aimed at reducing the fishing effort on tuna stocks in the Mediterranean.

"What has been regulated by ICCAT on the tuna fishing quota is biding and will be respected," Galdes said.

He also said that he would look into the matter and what problems exist when asked over the issuing of tuna licenses.

Galdes however made sure to drive home the message that a Labour government would improve its communication with the fishermen and that his door will always be open - a pledge much welcomed by the fishermen present who complained about the "arrogance" of the previous administration.

The fishermen also took to task Fisheries Control Directorate director general Joseph Caruana for what they described as lack of cooperation from the directorate's side. Caruana, appointed director under the PN administration was also present for the meeting.

Galdes today also announced that the Labour government will be reviewing the fisheries board while he has commissioned a report to find an adequate landing site for the fish market.

The parliamentary secretary that the €4m pixkerija project at the Grand Harbour lacked a landing facility and an adequate alternative for it must now be found. 

"Another problem we found is that that sewage from the abattoir is leaking and seeping into the fish market. The sewage includes animal blood," Galdes said.

Galdes said that his secretariat is also trying to find a technical solution after some 12 trawlers were stopped from trawling within Malta's 25nm zone. According to Galdes, during the Malta-EU accession negotiations, the Maltese government had presented data, dated back to the 70s. "Now, the EU has stopped fishing in certain zones and we must find a technical solution out of it," he said.

While reminding the fishermen that they were now working under EU directives and as such they had to respect them, Galdes agreed to look into the hefty infringement fines, which in some cases ran into thousands of euros.
Miriam Dalli joined in 2010 and was assistant editor fr...
I am aware that this whole problem has been inherit thanks to the PN when in government but the fact is now we have a new government. It is not fair for Mr. Galdes to say this is how it has been, this is how it will stay. I say this is stupid. Why is it I can go to any fish monger and buy blue fin tuna? hear every one complaining that this fish is not caught by our fishermen but by Arab fishermen who in turn sell it to local markets. It is coming more expensive for us to buy, if it is illegal for our fishermen fishing in the same sea it should be illegal also to anyone else. This is plain madness, no wonder the euro is becoming worthless everybody is braking the rules except those inside the euro.