Malta is to benefit by €29 million for its maritime sector, fisheries and aquaculture to help maintain a sustainable fisheries industry, to protect marine biological resources and to increase promotion of the production of fish and aquaculture.
Thus the Government has launched another public consultation document regarding the disposition of EU Funds from Malta’s allocation of EU Funds for the period to 2027.
The country’s fisheries industry is small but highly important and over the years has had to face various challenges such as an ageing of fishery vessels, a lack of interest in youths in the fisheries industry as well as the effects of the pandemic.
The aquaculture sector has grown and developed but today has challenges including the limited number of species bred in farms and because there is not enough research and sustainability because of climate change and its impact.
The consultation document is aimed at tackling the impact and marine environmental pressures on Malta’s coasts and the surrounding seas. Expenditure in this sector has to address fish populations and marine produce at a good level, the protection of nature and its biodiversity, the challenges posed by refuse dumped at sea and the effects of climate change on the coasts and surrounding seas.
The Parliamentary Secretary for EU Funds, Stefan Zrinzo Azzopardi, said the funds will focus on two priorities, the first being sustainable fisheries together with the conservation of marine biology. The second priority is that of sustainable aquaculture as well as the promotion of fish and aquaculture products to assure a food supply to the EU.
He said this is also an investment for fishermen to have vessels equipped with the latest techniques as well as to assure them with better employment conditions. There is also the need for further research and innovations in these sectors besides investment in the aquaculture sector, another very important sector to ensure its sustainability through further research and environmental impact.
The investments proposed in the document are under the direction of the EU Ecological Pact that is aimed at supporting sustainability for socio-economic and environmental aspects of fisheries and aquaculture through greater research, decisions of greater awareness, better control and enforcement of all aspects of the maritime sector.
Public consultation will remain open to 22nd October.