A fish farm located in the south has over the years increased the number of its cages to four times above the quantity it has permits for, The Sunday Times of Malta can reveal.

Malta Fish Farming Ltd, a subsidiary of construction company Elbros Ltd, is allowed five cages but is operating about 20.

This expansion increases the operation’s impact on the surrounding marine environment and popular swimming zones in Delimara and Marsaxlokk.

It comes despite a planning authority assurance that it had taken enforcement action in October 2014, after this newspaper reported that the farm had grown to 18 cages. The authority has given no further information on the current situation.

When contacted, company owner Salvu Ellul said he did not owe anybody an explanation.

By contrast, the owner of the adjacent fish farm, Joseph Caruana of Fish and Fish Limited, met The Sunday Times of Malta to explain the company’s operations. The number of its cages is in line with the permit granted. He agreed that controls were lacking.

When trying to obtain answers on why the situation was out of control, the planning authority referred this newspaper to the fisheries department, which in turn directed questions to the environment authority.

The Sunday Times of Malta was flooded with complaints after it reported last week that bays at Kalanka and St Peter’s Pool in Delimara were again filled with a slick of greasy slime. Locals are convinced the fish farms are to blame.

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