Maltese tuna rancher Azzopardi Fisheries has applied to double the number of tuna cages, but won’t farm more tuna, reports Malta Today.
In 2017, Azzopardi harvested 2,200 metric tons of tuna. The firm said it intends to maintain harvest volumes, but, by increasing the number of cages from 12 to 24, provide more space for tuna to reach optimal size before they are harvested.
Malta’s Environment and Resources Authority has requested Azzopardi Fisheries conduct an environmental impact assessment for the new development.
Azzopardi will install temporary pens off Malta’s north coast until a permanent location is identified for an aquaculture zone, also north of Malta. The planned 24 cages will have a 50-meter diameter and a depth of 42 meters, while stocking density per cage will decrease from the current 275t to 138t.
AJD Tuna and Malta Mariculture — the operating companies that belong to Azzopardi Fisheries — can farm a total biomass of 3,300t of tuna, as per International Commission for the Conservation of Atlantic Tunas regulations.