The Ministry for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change published a national aquaculture strategy titled Towards Sustainability 2014-2025 in June 2014.
The document, with Forewords by the Hon. Leo Brincat, Minister for Sustainable Development, Environment and Climate Change and the Hon. Roderick Galdes, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights, presents Government’s strategic direction for the future of the aquaculture industry in Malta.
It has been drawn up following a thorough consultation process and is intended to provide more clarity for investment, outline national objectives and define priorities and regulatory requirements.
This strategy builds on the strengths of the experience gained so far in this relatively young sector since its introduction in the late 1980s. The underlying principle is that of improving competitiveness while promoting sustainable practices.
The initial stages for the preparation of this first National Aquaculture Strategy for Malta involved an in-depth study carried out by Stirling Aquaculture of Scotland on behalf of the Government of Malta.
This comprehensive exercise was funded through the European Fisheries Fund (EFF), Fisheries Operational Programme 2007-2013 and involved a series of studies and consultations with different stakeholders.
A Strategic Environmental Assessment was conducted on an initial draft strategy that was followed by an Environment Report.
Both of these were subjected to a public consultation process. The comments received were assessed and addressed and the Environment Report amended accordingly and as relevant. The strategy focuses on seven important areas:
Aquaculture as an important maritime sector;
Steering growth towards sustainability;
Clarity in regulation;
Appropriate locations for Aquaculture Zones;
New Potential for growth – search areas;
Sustainability through improved environmental management; and
Competitiveness through innovation.
The National Aquaculture Strategy sets out a framework for the period 2014-2025.
The time line for its implementation is outlined in Annex I. An interim review is envisaged after not less than five years from its adoption so as to account for new technical, regulatory as well as economic developments in the sector, as necessary and relevant.