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MALTA - Fish farm lobby gets its way as €2 million feed tax left unimplemented

A much vaunted budget measure that was intended at addressing the environmental impact of fish farms in Maltese waters, was never implemented after lobbyists for the multi-million business weighed in. In its Budget 2015, the government had announced the introduction of a levy of 10c per kilogramme of feed used in fish farms to address the industry’s environmental impact.

April 20, 2016

A much vaunted budget measure that was intended at addressing the environmental impact of fish farms in Maltese waters, was never implemented after lobbyists for the multi-million business weighed in.

In its Budget 2015, the government had announced the introduction of a levy of 10c per kilogramme of feed used in fish farms to address the industry’s environmental impact.

Finance Minister Edward Scicluna had then said that the fish farming industry was felt to be “a strain and perceived as not giving its due”, especially due to the impact of feed used in fish farms.

“The government believes this sector must give a larger contribution in line with the polluter pays principle. Those who pollute must pay for it,” Scicluna had said.

But the plans for that excise, which was to raise €2 million, were never carried out after a government volte-face in the wake of protestations from the industry.

Malta’s aquaculture industry is jealously guarded by the businesses who run the game: in 2013 their gross output was of over €98 million, and increased their fish volumes by 30% to a total of 9,000 tonnes.

Fish farms however generate controversy over intensive tuna ranching methods, and the environmental effects of farming.

Source: Matthew Vella, Malta today. Read the full article.

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