Malta's aquaculture and tuna farming industry registered a net operating loss of almost €30 million in 2019, according to an annual census of the industry, the National Statistics Office said on Tuesday. 

Output generated by the sector that year stood at €169.9 million; a decline of 29% over the amount recorded the previous year.

Intermediate consumption in the industry - the main operating expenses incurred by operators - fell by €46.3 million, or 20% over that registered a year before.

As a result, the industry’s gross value added settled at a negative balance of €15.4 million, the NSO census of the aquaculture sector noted.

The gross fixed capital consumption of the assets held by the industry edged upwards by €0.5 million to €4.7 million, while compensation of employees rose by €0.9 million to €9.5 million.

Overall, the industry registered a net operating loss of €29.7 million.

In terms of volume, the total sales of farmed fish fell by 5.5 million tonnes or 28.3% when compared to the preceding year; mainly due to a decline in farmed tuna volume sales of 5.4 million tonnes (30.9%).

In terms of value, the total sales of farmed fish decreased by €80.8 million, or 33.3%, to a total of €161.9 million.

As regards the various expenditure costs incurred by the industry, the purchases of live tuna and fingerlings declined by €16.3 million, or 14.8%, to a total of €93.6 million.

This accounted for 50.5% of the entire intermediate consumption of the industry.

Similarly, variable production costs decreased by 23% over 2018 to €66.4 million; while selling costs and overheads fell by 28% and 28.7%, to €5 and €20.3 million respectively, the NSO said. 

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