St Paul's Bay fish farm had 10 illegal tuna pens, minister confirms

Environment Minister Jose Herrera ordered an inspection of the tuna farm after the issue was raised in Parliament by Democratic Party MP Godfrey Farrugia

The illegal but empty tuna pens were removed after inspections by the environment agency
The illegal but empty tuna pens were removed after inspections by the environment agency

A recent inspection by Environment and Resources Agency (ERA), and fisheries department personnel found that fish farms operating off the coast of St Paul’s Bay had some “nine or 10” cages more than was allowed by their permit, according to Environment Minister Jose Herrera.

The minister was replying to a parliamentary question by PD MP Godfrey Farrugia, who last week called on the minister to investigate alleged breaches by fish farm operators.

Farrugia again asked the minister what action had been taken, insisting that he knew there was no enforcement on the part of the Planning Authority and asked what action the fisheries department had taken.

“I can assure you that my ministry, through the relevant entities, inspected the tuna pens, and they reported that there were nine or 10 cages more than was permitted,” said Herrera.

He added however that it had also transpired that the additional cages were empty, and that the amount of fish being grown by the operators was in line with the permits they had in hand.

“They then gave orders for the cages that were over and above the permit to be removed,” Herrera said. 

Nationwide organic waste collection

The minister also announced that a pilot project, which saw the collection of organic waste from households in five localities, would be extended nationwide.

The minister said that the government was committed to improve the quality of waste management in Malta, as well as reduce the amount of waste disposed of in landfills.

Furthermore, he said that his ministry would soon be presenting cabinet with draft legislation on a the circular economy, which introduce penalties to those that failed to recycle.

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