The strong winds which hit the Maltese islands over the last few days pushed fish farm slime into St Paul’s Bay and Xemxija bay.
Various photographs sent in to The Shift News show large swathes of white foam close to the shore in St Paul’s Bay and Xemxija following the strong north-easterly winds.
Speaking to The Shift News earlier this year, NGO Stop The Slime spokesperson Nicholai Abela explained that fish farm slime hits the shores when sea and wind conditions are right to push enough of the oil slicks in one direction.
However, Abela said, “just because this only happens now and again does not mean that the environment is not being saturated with the polluting effects of this industry,”
The fish farming industry pollutes the environment with around 660 kgs daily of uneaten baitfish ending up in the sea, Stop The Slime said citing an assessment by environmental consultants.
During a public consultation process on the application for an expansion in the number of tuna pens, the NGO said the slime is considered an imminent threat to the environment, including to marine life along the coastline, and also has an effect on human health.
This foamy substance is actually oily residue from fish feed and originated from the fish farms, according to Environment Minister Jose Herrera.
In an attempt to reduce the mess, the Federation of Maltese Aquaculture Producers said the fish farm operators installed booms in every cage, which will collect the majority of the residue at source – a promise that was made year after year, although it has not solved the problem.