2018 was a record year for the aquaculture industry in Malta. A census by the National Statistics Office among operators working in the sector showed that between them they sold 19.3 million tons of fish, almost double the amount of 2015 (10.8 million tons).
In a period of three years, the fish value also almost doubled – from €127 million in 2015 to €242 million in 2018.
The figures show that tuna cages off the Maltese coast are contributing some 90 per cent of all fish in the aquaculture industry last year.
According to the figures, production costs increased by almost 17 per cent, from €74 million in 2017 to €86 million in 2018. Generally, the industry registered an operating loss of €5.2 million, a decrease of €5 million from the 2017 losses.
The Federation of Aquaculture Producers’ chief executive, Dr Charlon Gouder, said that while growth is mostly due to an increase in tuna exports to Japan, the operators are committed to further reduce the impact on the environment, especially the maritime environment.
Dr Gouder added that in the wake of these results, the industry will now consider other niches. “We will study how this growth in the tuna industry will lead us to other additional industries, such as tuna remains processing”.
Representatives of the aquaculture industry will this week visit Spain for the meeting of the International Commission for the Conservation of Tuna (ICCAT), which among others will discuss the possibility of a revision on tuna quota, especially in the Atlantic and the Mediterranean.