Client: Veterinary Affairs and Fisheries Regulation Division (VAFRD) of the Ministry for Resources and Rural Affairs (MRRA)
Start / Finish Dates: November 2010 – May 2011
Adi Associates was commissioned to carry out an Alternative Site Assessment for the development of a new aquaculture zone to the North of Malta to compliment that already set up and functioning in the south-east of the island. The purpose of a second aquaculture zone is to relocate existing farms in the north of the island and encourage the further development of the local aquaculture industry, including the farming of more valued species.
The study provided an initial, broad-brush site sieving exercise through which marine areas that are potentially suitable for the establishment of an aquaculture zone in the north of the island were identified.
A two-phased approach was taken to help identify potential sites and then short-list them. Phase 1 identified a ‘long list’ of potential sites that are likely to meet the necessary technical requirements such as location, depth and distance from other aquaculture units and the shore. In Phase 2, these potential sites were short-listed and categorised into ‘suitable’, ‘potentially suitable’ and ‘unsuitable’ by subjecting each site to further scrutiny on the grounds of the potential planning, environmental, social and economic benefits/dis-benefits associated with each location.
On the basis of the site sieving exercise and the criteria outlined above, only one area that can be considered suitable for further consideration for the development of the aquaculture zone was identified. A Project Description Statement was drawn up for this site, located off Qala Point and east Comino. The PDS described the site, the surrounding uses, the proposed Scheme and a detailed account of waste management. A preliminary list of potential environmental impacts was identified and included impacts on the benthic environment, water quality and from waste generated during operations. The main approach to mitigation hinges on two points:
- Minimising the impact at source (e.g. by reducing the amount and nature of the discharges at a single location etc); and
- Ensuring that any impacts caused are remedied (e.g. recovery of tuna carcasses).
Keywords: aquaculture zone, fish farming, Site Selection Exercise, Project Description Statement