In a prelude to the annual lampuki season, which runs from mid-August to the end of the year, free palm fronds have once more been distributed to fishermen by the Fisheries Ministry.
The palm fronds are used by fishermen to build their kannizzati, large makeshift rafts which are pulled out to sea by fishing boats. The lampuki – known variously in English as dorado, mahi-mahi or dolphinfish – school underneath the kannizzati as they seek shade, and a mesh net is then used to catch them.
In a statement, the ministry said that it recognised that lampuki fishermen faced significant expenses, and that as such, it sought to at least assure them that they would not be lacking palm fronds in the process.
In preparation for the distribution, the ministry contacted various private and public entities as well as local councils to determine which palms could be pruned. Over 800 palm trees were ultimately pruned to collect the required palm fronds.
The fronds were all treated to protect them from the red palm weevil, an invasive insect species which has devastated Maltese palm trees.
Minister Anton Refalo was present as the palm fronds were distributed in St Paul’s Bay, auguring a good season ahead to the fishermen present.