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Malta exploring system for tuna breeding

MALTA - Malta's progress in aquaculture research is being acknowledged. The country has been asked to participate in the SELFDOTT programme together with scientists from seven other countries, said George Pullicino, Minister for Environment and Rural Affairs.

During a visit to the aquaculture centre at Fort San Lucjan, Minister Pullicino said that the progress being made in the field has brought more foreign investment to the country as well as the acknowledgement of Malta as one of the main centres in the Mediterranean in the industry.

The Minister explained that the SELFDOTT programme - which runs over three years and for which Malta will receive €246,000 - aims to develop a self-sufficient aquaculture systems for the breeding of tuna.

Minister Pullicino stressed on the importance of the programme particularly in view of the efforts to safeguard the Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, a species which is risking extinction.

He said the invitation to participate in the programme is a certification for the excellent work being done by the biologists and workers at Fort San Lucjan. It follows the successful participation in the REPRODOTT programme - which aimed to develop new techniques for the breeding and domestication of tuna - and the success in the breeding of amberjack ('accjol').

Parliamentary Secretary Francis Agius said that the aquaculture industry had developed significantly in the last 17 years and had become an important pillar in the Maltese economy.