15 fines, 1 enforcement order issued by ERA against tuna farm operators


Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

The Environment and Resource Authority (ERA) issued fifteen fines and one compliance and enforcement order against tuna farm operators in 2019, the Authority said in a statement on Wednesday. 

The environmental watchdog sought to clarify the reports on material in the sea, attributed to “sea slime”. The authority explained that there are various types of sea surface phenomena including lasting foam, mucilaginous formations and oily sea slime. 

ERA officers monitor fish farm operations both on-shore and off-shore. ‘Meetings are frequently held with fish farm operators, ensuring that practices with the least negative impacted are adopted,’ ERA said.

The environmental watchdog explained that fish farm operators are inspected at least three times a week. Further, a vessel patrols the perimeter of fish farms collects fish remnants after feeding the fish.

The feeding procedure undertaken is one aimed at reducing fat-laden thaw water from the baitfish, from reaching the sea, ERA explained. It claimed that the feeding methods improved as a result of discussions held between the authority and the tuna farm operators.

Different types of sea surface phenomena 

Lasting foam is a natural phenomenon and the result of micro-algal blooms, which releases natural detergents and lead to foaming forming at sea. 

Mucilaginous events may result from natural phenomena and are also usually caused by micro-algal blooms, producing slimy formations.

Human activity such as fish farms can give rise to oil slicks and oily sea slime. Slime can be identified from its consistency and foul smell.