Plans to build a 700-boat yacht marina in Marsaskala would threaten the livelihood of fishermen based in the area, members of the fishing community have warned.
Marsaskala is home to a community of full-time fishermen who this afternoon raised concerns about the proposed marina, which they say will threaten each and every one of their livelihoods.
A request for proposals for the project was issued by Transport Malta in August for the construction of the marina, which is to have roughly 700 berths.
“Fishermen currently use Marsaskala Bay to prepare for their fishing trips. They use the bay to load and unload the limestone slabs used in fishing for lampuki and for soaking the palm fronds in water to prevent them from drying up,” Moviment Graffitti, which helped organise the conference, said.
“The bay is also used for the cleaning and repair of trammel nets and it is also where long lines for swordfish are opened and checked for knots. Yacht marina jetties, pleasure boats and other related activity will dominate this space making it impossible for fishermen to work from.”
Fishermen present also noted that the construction of the marina would prevent them from tying their boats to the shore.
“This means exceeding difficulty in loading bait, diesel and ice and unloading the catch from boats. Swordfish catches are impossible to unload from jetties either because this requires the use of cranes,” Moviment Graffitti said.
It added that many fishermen had permits to sell catch directly from their boats, something the group said they will no longer be able to do if the marina has been built.
“Beyond all this, there is serious concern that fishermen will not be able to hold on to their place in the bay once it becomes a yacht marina.
“So a yacht marina isn’t simply an inconvenience but a threat to the livelihood of the fishermen of Marsaskala.”
The fishing community’s opposition to the project follows that of several civil society and resident groups, which all maintain that the bay should remain the people’s and not be given away to private interests.
“A yacht marina and related activities in the heart of Marsaskala are bound to destroy the cultural life of the village to make way for the wealthy and their yachts.”
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