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MALTA - Fish feed blamed for sea slime problem in Malta

Sea slime has appeared along the coast of Malta, prompting fears of a repeat of problems that plagued beaches two years ago. At that time, the use of a new fish feed with a higher fat content was identified as the main cause. Tuesday\'s slime drew particular concern, as it coincided with the start of the tuna feeding season.

August 2, 2018

Sea slime appeared along the coast in Marsascala, Sliema and other areas on Tuesday, prompting fears of a repeat of problems that plagued beaches two years ago.

In 2016, the widespread incidence of a similar, oily slime led to public outrage and the eventual suspension of permits for tuna farms around the island after they were identified as the source.

The farms have since been given new permits to operate in designated aquaculture zones around six kilometres offshore, coupled with more stringent environmental measures to prevent a recurrence.

However, Tuesday\'s slime drew particular concern, as it coincided with the start of the tuna feeding season. Two years ago, the use of a new fish feed with a higher fat content was identified as the main cause.

The Environment Ministry did not respond to questions on the source of the slime and whether any measures had been taken.

Industry sources told the Times of Malta that the incident had caught fish farm operators by surprise, as it had come about early in the season while they were implementing new environmental management procedures.

They said the slime had likely been exacerbated by environmental factors and that operators were not expecting widespread problems similar to those in 2016.

Four tuna farms are currently operating at two offshore locations, one in the south of Malta and one off Sikka l-Bajda in the north, having relocated there on the Planning Authority’s orders.

Source: Times of Malta // Original Article

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