Malta is paying too high a price for the fish farming industry, the Democratic Party said on Sunday as it hit out at large patches of slime blighting the coast.

In a statement, it observed that a consortium which owns a huge blue-fin tuna farm just off Comino was said to have applied for a PA permit. 

"This is peak season for tuna fattening before slaughtering begins in October, and our coastal waters from Armier to Sliema are again polluted with slime. This is not naturally occurring foam, but slime. This time round, Comino has also been adversely hit," the party said. 

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“A fish farm in the area has just doubled the number of pens this year despite numerous protests and the claim of the Department of Fisheries and Aquaculture, which falls under the Ministry of Environment, that principles of best management practices will be applied to safeguard and sustain our marine environment, and that it will implement measures so that our blue flag beaches and coastal waters do not get polluted by slime. Slime is a direct danger to the environment,” spokesman Timothy Alden said. 

MP Marlene Farrugia asked why the government and the PN had not objected to the PA application.

“This is a multi-million Euro industry that gives little in return to Malta’s coffers and has shamed us by misconduct, illegalities and tuna smuggling,” she added. 

The party said it is in favour of the aquaculture industry, but Malta was paying a high price for its unsustainable growth.