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China Ethical Issues Raised Over Malta’s Festa tat-Tonn Festival Malta, August 7, 12

The ‘Festa tat-Tonn’, hosted last weekend in Marsaxlokk by the Rural Affairs Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs and the local council, raised a number of ethical issues, fish4tomorrow said.

fish4tomorrow, a campaign promoting sustainable seafood consumption, said in a statement this morning that bluefin tuna stocks had drastically depleted through overfishing recently and were fast approaching a state beyond recovery.

The situation was especially severe in the Mediterranean, where Malta had become infamous as a main player in the tuna industry.

So it was unjustifiable that the country, which was heavily contributing to the rapid decline of tuna stocks, should host an event encouraging its consumption.

Moreover, the tuna fishing season ended more than seven weeks ago, which meant that any tuna sold and consumed during the festival was either illegally fished out of season or originated from the tuna ranches.

Ranching involved catching young wild tuna and fattening them in cages to be sold out of season, primarily to Japanese markets. This led to massive overfishing and, as a result, the EU imposed fishing quotas in an attempt to limit the damage of this practice.

But, on the downside, the traditional local fishermen were finding it close to impossible to compete with industry-scale fisheries for these quotas.

fish4tomorrow said it would have liked to see a festival supporting local artisanal fishers and their sustainable catch. However, the ministry opted to hold an event promoting the sale of unsustainably-caught tuna, it accused.