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Conference Delegates Visit Bluefin Tuna Project

MALTA - A new project to produce blue fin tuna from a self sustained aquaculture system was the focal point of a visit from the European Fisheries Commissioner and delegates at the North Atlantic Fisheries Organisation meeting in Malta.

Maltese Resources and Rural Affairs Minister George Pullicino accompanied the European Commissioner for Fisheries and Maritime Affairs, Joe Borg, on the visit to the tuna reproduction research project.

Dr Anthony Gruppetta, Director General Veterinary Regulation, Fisheries Conservation and Control explained the Selfdott Project – from capture-based to self-sustained aquaculture and domestic production of bluefin tuna.

The delegates saw the farm with 32 tuna each weighing between 70 and 80 kilos, being fed in one of the cages at sea.

The Malta Centre for Fisheries Sciences (MCFS) and Malta Fishfarming Ltd (MFF) are representing Malta in the project as part of the European Union’s seventh Framework Programme.

The total costs of this three-year project will be €4 million, of which the EU is contributing €3 million. MCFS and MFF will receive a total of approximately €333,500 from the total costs of €445,000.

In his speech to the conference Commissioner Borg said that one of the aims was to make market States being accountable for the way in which products are treated before they reach their markets.

And he called for sustainable and ethical practices in fisheries.

"Buyers and consumers alike are seeking guarantees that the fish they are purchasing has been caught in accordance with the rules in place," he said.

"We must take action immediately, if we are to secure a future for our children and our children's children – a future which must give to them the same rights and responsibilities that our generation and those before us have had as custodians of this planet's fragile ecosystem and its bountiful oceans," he added.