Despite the sea slime controversy that had put Malta’s aquaculture industry in the spotlight, the sector grew by almost a fifth last year with a total output of EUR 239.2 million (USD 265 million) from the farming of bluefin and closed cycle species. The marketed tonnage of tuna accounted for 89.8 percent of total sales, up 6.3 percent from 2017.
In terms of expenditure, the purchases of live tuna and fingerlings by the industry amounted to EUR 109.9 million (USD 122 million), an increase of 8.7 percent year-on-year. Over the years, bluefin farm operators have been heavily criticized for sea slime problems along Malta’s eastern coastline.
The work for the new tuna fishing harbor in Tiruvottiyur Kuppam in Chennai, India, is progressing as scheduled. Currently, drivers in the Ennore expressway have been seeing concrete structures (tetrapods) on the shoreline, which will be used to create a sea wall for the tuna harbor.
Once the new harbor is ready, tuna longliners will have an exclusive platform for selling their catches. Cold storage facilities are also expected to be built to help lend traction for the export of tuna. Currently, all species of fish catches are brought to the harbor in Kasimedu, in Chennai, where they are being auctioned or sold.
Fifteen Pacific nations recently participated in the annual Operation Kurukuru, a 12-day multinational coordinated regional maritime surveillance exercise targeting IUU fishing in the WCPO. A total of 646 vessels were sighted or remotely sensed and 131 inspections and boardings were conducted at sea and in port. It also resulted in four boats being apprehended. The operation had support from nine separate aerial surveillance assets and 14 surface patrol assets.
The initiative was led by the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency (FFA), with the aim to foster regional monitoring, control, and surveillance capabilities to enhance national food and economic security throughout the Pacific through the sustainable harvest and management of tuna fish stocks.