PRESS RELEASE BY THE MINISTRY FOR TRANSPORT, INFRASTRUCTURE AND CAPITAL PROJECTS, PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND ANIMAL RIGHTS AND PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARIAT FOR EUROPEAN FUNDS AND SOCIAL DIALOGUE

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg, Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Clint Camilleri and Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia visited the ongoing works for the construction of the breakwater in Qrejten in the locality of Marsaxlokk, which works started some weeks ago.

Minister Ian Borg explained how this investment of around Euros 4 million will be improving the access and the use of the Marsaxlokk Harbour. He noted that the Marsaxlokk fishermen have been awaiting a solution that provided protection for the harbour in this zone for years so as to reduce the risks associated with storms, such as damages that may be sustained by their boats which are kept in this area. Minister Borg said that once again this government is working hard to deliver a project that will benefit the people, in this case the fishermen and those that run economic activities in this zone. He mentioned how the Marsaxlokk local council worked together with the authorities and the central government so that this project could be finally delivered to the community.

The breakwater will be 110 metres length and 6 metres wide (above sea) and 3.5 metres deep (under sea level). The contractors will be surrounding the concrete structure with a rock berm, which will help to break the force of the waves, reducing their impact on the inner part of the harbour. In fact, this structure will be similar to the breakwater in the Harbour in Imgarr, Gozo.

The government believes that the fishermen cannot keep on suffering from the consequences brought about by storms. Therefore, we will be investing in the maritime infrastructure in this zone. The boats of these fishermen which they use to earn their living every day are important for the government, the economic activities around the coast of this picturesque village are also important � so we remain committed to invest in this project so that it is implemented in the months to come and finally the locality of Marsaxlokk and the fishermen can start benefiting from this project, said Minister Borg.

Minister Borg reminded how this project is part of a series of other maritime projects that are being implemented by Infrastructure Malta, amongst which there is the Euros 6 million investment in the Harbour in Mgarr, Gozo, that of Mgarr ix-Xini where the first phase has just been completed and also the ones in Comino, Sliema and Bormla, with the two latter ones leading to the upgrading of the ferry landing sites.

Parliamentary Secretary Clint Camilleri emphasised the need for this government to continue with its work in favour of the sustainability of the fisheries sector. This should be done both with the capital investments such as the infrastructural projects like the breakwater one we are witnessing today and investment in other facilities like the ones being implemented in Gozo, or with the different initiatives and measures that this government is announcing in different stages which will help to improve the situation of fishermen and their families. The present government is one that listens and takes action. We did this a number of years ago when we negotiated to increase the time period for the dorado (lampuki) season because of the increment weather and we also did this recently when we helped a number of fishermen so that they could fish for tuna by giving them a special license, said Parliamentary Secretary Camilleri whilst he declared that as a government we will continue with our tireless work so as to modernise the infrastructure related with this sector even with European funds.

Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia said that this project is financed by the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund with an investment of Euros 4 million in EU funds.

Other projects financed by this fund include the works on the new slipways in Marsaxlokk and Xlendi, with the latter also including the building of a landing zone facility where fishers will be able to land their catch. One could also mention the EU funded works on the Mgarr Harbour in Gozo, where dredging is taking place, as well as the creation of new pontoons.

He said that Maltese fishers are being aided not only through infrastructural projects such as these, but EU funds are also going directly to fishers through various schemes, including an open one for diversification which grants a maximum of Euros 70,000 to fishers, allowing them to enter new economic niches.

Source: Government of Malta