Min ipproteġa lid-Direttur Ġenerali tas-Sajd bejn 2013 u illum?

Dal-għodu tħabbar li d-Direttur Ġenerali tas-Sajd Dr.Andreina Fenech Farrugia kienet sospiża b’effett immedjat. Dan wara li n-newsletter elettroniku Spanjol El Confidencial ippubblika transcript ta’ diskursata telefonika bejn id-Direttur Ġenerali tas-Sajd Maltija u negozjant ewlieni tat-tonn Spanjol. It-telfonata kienet dwar ħlas mitlub f’kuntest ta’ skandlu dwar tonn illegali b’valur ta’ madwar €25 miljun.

Il-Ministru Josè Herrera għamel sewwa mhux biss li aġixxa, imma ukoll li aġixxa mill-ewwel.

Imma l-kobba jidher li hi mħabbla għax Dr. Fenech Farrugia kienet diġa tneħħiet fi żmien meta kien Ministru tas-Sajd George Pullicino fl-2011, meta kien qed iberraq fil-Ministeru tas-Sajd.

Imma immedjatament wara l-elezzjonijiet tal-2013, fi żmien sentejn, Fenech Farrugia inġiebet lura mill-Gvern il-ġdid.

Shift News illum tirreferi għal xniegħat li l-Partit Laburista kien midjun lejn l-industrija tat-tonn li appoġġatu finanzjarjament fil-kampanja elettorali tal-2013 u dwar il-possibilita li kienet l-industrija tat-tonn li insistiet għar-ritorn ta’ Dr Adreina Fenech Farrugia.

Il-kobba hi mħabbla sewwa u xi ħadd għandu l-obbligu li jispjega. Hemm mistoqsija li teħtieġ tweġiba ċara: min kien qed jipproteġi lil Dr Andreina Fenech Farrugia sakemm il-forzi tal-ordni Spanjoli semgħu t-telefonata? Għaliex?

sustainable ……but….. á la carte

published February 20, 2010 under the title :

“Sustainable ….. but …..in a way.”


When the CITES (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) Conference of the Parties meets in Doha next March it will consider a proposal that will mean that international trading of bluefin tuna will be banned.

The European Parliament, on February 10, approved a motion for a resolution, which, among other matters, urged the EU Commission and member states to support the ban on international trade in bluefin tuna in view of the depletion of natural stocks of this species.

A total of 320 MEPs voted in favour; 271 voted against. Four of the Maltese MEPs voted against the ban and the fifth, David Casa, was absent when voting took place.

The ban is being proposed as bluefin tuna is on the verge of extinction. It is being fished at a rate far above its natural regeneration. The Principality of Monaco stressed, when presenting its submissions justifying the ban back in July 2009, that coordinated intervention is long overdue.

The Principality of Monaco has argued that bluefin tuna stock in the Mediterranean has declined by more than 74 per cent between 1957 and 2007, the bulk of it in the last decade. Meanwhile, tuna stock in the west Atlantic has plunged by 83 per cent between 1970 and 2007.

The ban will affect industrial fishing and tuna ranching. It will not affect fishing for bluefin tuna for local consumption. It will, undoubtedly, affect large-scale fishing, including those operations based in Maltese waters. Lobbying on behalf of these operators and their Japanese partners has been very evident. The political positions taken by a number of Mediterranean countries, including Malta, is also clearly the result of lobbying by the industry, which has wide interests straddling opposite shores of the Mediterranean.

The Principality of Monaco in the draft resolution submitted to the CITES Secretariat for discussion during the Doha Conference of the Parties stated that, notwithstanding recommendations by the Standing Committee on Research and Statistics of the International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tuna (ICCAT) that tuna catches should not exceed 15,000t per annum, quotas far in excess of this recommendation were approved: 22,000t for 2009, 19,950t for 2010 and 18,500t for 2011.

The Principality of Monaco also emphasised that it is known that the international fishing fleet capacity is, at least, double that needed to catch the current legal quota, which fact leads to serious doubts on quota enforcement and the under-reporting of catches.

The average size of the bluefin tuna has been reduced substantially over the years from 220kg to 145kg as overfishing is not permitting tuna to develop to its mature size.

Japan, a major consumer, consumes 43,000t of bluefin tuna annually. Half of this is acquired from the Pacific Ocean, the rest from other parts of the world.

It is a known fact that quotas are widely ignored and only a ban on international trade will allow stocks to recover. This will take time to be achieved.

The international environmental NGO WWF, through its Mediterranean Programme, has since 2008 embarked on a programme aimed at saving the Mediterranean bluefin tuna from extinction. It has adopted a three-pronged approach, namely addressing fishing methods, consumer awareness and through lobbying national governments in order that they observe the agreed quotas. The programme is ongoing and it aims to improve the management measures recommended by scientists.

Opposition to the ban is short-sighted politics. It is myopic as it focuses on short-term economic gains and ignores the long-term social, economic and ecological impacts of the collapse of tuna stocks. The social impacts on families dependent on international trade in bluefin tuna have to be addressed through adequate social programmes as their livelihood is in peril due to its depending on an unsustainable activity. Opposition to the ban will not, however, do them any good as it will just postpone facing the music by not more than five years.

Malta has been one of the states resisting the international demand for an international trade ban on bluefin tuna. The Maltese government has opposed the call for such a ban in all fora. Even the opposition Labour Party has supported the PN-led government in defending the unsustainable fishing of bluefin tuna. Maltese MEPs have obliged by taking a stand against the ban.

Yet, both the PN and the PL in Malta speak in favour of sustainable development. Most probably they mean sustainable… but… á la carte, that is, speaking profusely about it but simultaneously proceeding with business as usual.

The Greens in Malta have been the only political voice in favour of sustainable fishing, in favour of protecting marine biodiversity as well as defending traditional fishing methods in opposition to the havoc generated by industrial fishing.

It is too late in the day to expect the government to be consistent. The Labour opposition is no better.

EP vote on tuna – a victory for our common interest

Alternattiva Demokratika – The Green Party said today that the European Parliament’s vote to ban international trading in tuna is a step in the right direction. Such a ban will help local fishermen who supply the local market since traditional fishing will still be permitted. It is a well known fact that the international trading in tuna, a natural resource, is wreaking havoc on this fish’s stock.

AD Chairperson Michael Briguglio said:’A ban on international trade in this species is inevitable.  Overfishing and tuna ranching resulting mainly from large scale fishing taking place over the years caused stocks of this fish to diminish drastically. This industry will survive for maybe another couple of years and then die for good if this ban is not introduced. It is a do or die situation.’

Maltese tuna exporters and ranchers are pressuring the government to fight such a ban. The government and PN and PL MEPs are giving in to the strong multimillion Euro lobby instead of joining the majority of the European Parliament and a majority of European Union countries to take the necessary steps to protect a natural resource and small local fishermen. Some groups in the European Parliament with a history of defending strong industrial lobbies’ interests and who boast of being the largest group, have done the same in the vote on the ban in international trading in tuna. They have defended the interests of strong lobbies instead of the common interest. Thankfully these groups were defeated and their amendment to render the ban ineffective was blocked. Michael Briguglio siad:’AD thanks the Green Group in the European Parliament which chose to defend our common interest and the small traditional fishermen who fish in a sustainable manner.’

Simon Galea, spokesperson on Animal Welfare and Agriculture added:’The ban in international trade in tuna is in the common interest of us all. Fishing can be reassumed once the stock numbers improve. On the other hand fishing will have to cease for good once the species is extinct. Resisting such a ban is attempting suicide. Stricter measures have to be introduced once the ban is lifted. New quotas for sustainable fishing plus better enforcement of such is essential in order to prevent history from repeating itself.’

It is about time the government of Malta joins those of Italy and France by supporting this ban.

Greens deplore Government’s stand on Bluefin Tuna


AD, stated Chairperson Arnold Cassola, strongly deplores the government’s
stand against the EU’s proposal to halt for two years the exploitation of the
Bluefin Tuna to ensure that the species is not driven to extinction due to
unsustainable pressure. The population of the breeding tuna in 2007 was only a quarter of the level of that of 50 years ago, most of the decline occuring in recent years.

The Maltese Government’s opposition to the EU Commission proposal, added Carmel Cacopardo AD Spokesman on Sustainable Development and Local Government, not only shows a lack of an environmental commitment but also exposes the government’s willingness to back short term economic profit at the expense of natural resources.The livelihood of Maltese fishermen who use traditional fishing methods is being threatened by such behaviour.

On the basis of the precautionary principle established in International Fora
and enshrined in Malta’s Environment Protection Act, the Maltese Government should have supported the EU’s proposal thereby protecting blue fin tuna from the unscrupulous exploitation by large scale industrial fishing. There is no need to wait for more detailed scientific studies, concluded Carmel Cacopardo, to arrive to the obvious conclusion that unless there is an immediate halt to bluefin tuna exploitation this species will become extinct shortly.

Ralph Cassar