Fishers say yacht marina will spell the end of the bay’s current fishing activities

Moviment Graffitti insist marina development not an inconvenience but a threat to the livelihood of fi­shermen

Marsascala fishermen have voiced their concern over government’s plans to build a yacht marina in the locality.

Speaking during a protest organized by Moviment Graffitti on Thursday, they said that once the development is carried out, fishermen would be driven out of the bay.

In June, Transport Malta issued a call for bids to construct and operate a yacht marina in the locality, that will have an area with berths for the present boats, new berths and other ancillary services.

They also raised concerns on the eventual pollution in the bay.

“We were born here and intend to stay here. How can we work if the bay is full of pontoons? Where will we offload our catch and maintain our boats. Where will we unload a 100KG fish?” the fishers said speaking during the protest.

In a statement, the NGO said a yacht marina isn’t simply an inconvenience but a threat to the livelihood of the fishers of Marsaskala.

“The community of full-time fishermen’s concerns continue to add to the widespread protests against the yacht marina from firework and village feast associations, fishing enthusiasts and residents who enjoy this bay for swimming and social activities,” it said.

They said a yacht marina, and related activities in the heart of Marsaskala, are bound to the destroy the cultural life of the village to make way for the wealthy and their yachts.

“A yacht marina also means that fishermen will not be able to tie their boats to the shore but will need to start using jetties. This means exceeding difficulty in loading bait, diesel and ice and unloading the catch from boats. Swordfish catches are impossible to unload from jetties either because this requires the use of cranes. Many fishermen also have permits to sell catch directly from their boats which they will no longer be able to do from a yacht marina and their fishing boats tied to jetties,” the NGO said.