Malta’s fish farms made over € 228 million in selling tuna farmed on the islands, but almost 93% of all the stock goes to Japan.
Figures published the National Statistics Office show that in 2018, Malta’s fish farms produced 17,326,000kg of tuna, generating a total reveneu of €228,583,000.
Malta’s tuna fishing industry is highly lucrative. Accounting for over 80% of Malta’s fishing industry. The number of total sales has increased year on year according to figures.
It’s been a year since Malta emerged as a central figure in a €25 million illegal tuna trade across Europe, with leaked Spanish police documents implicating Mare Blu, MFF, and the Fisheries Directorate’s Director-General Andreina Fenech Farrugia in the scandal.
MFF and Mare Blu are the only tuna fish operators to break the 4,000,000 kg barrier over a single year, both breaching it in 2018, just months before the tuna scandal broke.
Transcripts even hinted at potential bribes in return for Fenech Farrugia’s influence and higher fish quotas. Meanwhile, she also made use of a SIM card that was registered by Ricardo Fuentes e Hijos.
It is believed that illegal operators would either pass off their tuna as a cheaper species, forge documentation, or transfer catches between different cages.
The operators were allegedly able to bypass EU quotas through the help of Malta’s Fisheries Directorate, in particular Fenech Farrugia. She has pledged her innocence, with documents seen by Lovin Malta backing up her claims that she had reported Mare Blu ten months before the revelations.
A magisterial inquiry was opened, and Fenech Farrugia was the only one suspended for her role in the scandal.
However, the case has run cold with the nation’s eyes focused on the COVID-19 pandemic and the political crisis brought on by the fallout of the arrest and charge of Yorgen Fenech in connection with the assassination of journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.