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Part I Statistics and main indicators

  1. Country brief
  2. General geographic and economic indicators
  3. FAO Fisheries statistics

The Profile (2005)

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    Part I Statistics and main indicators

    Part I of the Fishery and Aquaculture Country Profile is compiled using the most up-to-date information available from the FAO Country briefs and Statistics programmes at the time of publication. The Country Brief and the FAO Fisheries Statistics provided in Part I may, however, have been prepared at different times, which would explain any inconsistencies.

    Country briefUpdated 12-2016

    Current situation

    Maltese fisheries are of a typical Mediterranean artisanal type and are frequently described as multi-species and multi-gear fisheries, with the majority of the fishermen switching from one gear to another several times throughout the year. In 2014, the number of employees in fishing activities was 987 (4% of the fishers were women) and the number of fish farmers 178 (10% of the workforce were women). The fishing fleet as at 31 December 2015 consisted of 1005 professional vessels of which. The recreational fishing sector is also significant with 1 929 vessels registered in this activity in 2012. About 88 percent of the professional vessels are less than 10 m in length overall and more than half are of a traditional design, namely ‘Luzzu’ and ‘Kajjik’, operating mainly in coastal waters.

    The main landing sites are Marsaxlokk harbour and the wholesale fish-market in Valletta. There are however a high number of very small ports around the Maltese islands (Malta and Gozo). Catches are generally sold by public auctions through a middleman and fish hawkers.

    Total capture fishery production shows an increasing trend since 2007 and in 2015 reached about 2 440 tonnes. The main exploited species include mackerels, swordfish, dolphinfish, bluefin tuna, and demersal species. In 2015, exports of fish and fishery products were worth USD 132.9 million, while imports USD 69.9 million. Apparent per capita consumption was estimated at 32.6 kg in 2013.

    The aquaculture industry has evolved over the last 20 years and at present there are six farms operating marine cage culture facilities at nine sites around the Maltese Islands. The production of the aquaculture industry in 2014 amounted to 4 900 tonnes valued at USD 56 million and the total volume of fresh fish sold amounting to 6 881 tonnes. Farmed species included mainly bluefin tuna (capture-based), seabass and seabream, with sea bream accounting about 65 percent of the total output. All farm owners have aspirations to develop their businesses further, especially if based on alternative species cultured from bred stocks, such as meagre, amberjack and bluefin tuna.

    Fishing operations by the Maltese fishing fleet do not vary much inter-annually. Some fisheries are seasonal, particularly those targeting highly migratory species, namely bluefin tuna and dolphinfish which, along with swordfish which is targeted throughout the year (with the exception of October and November due to closed season), are the most important species for the local fisheries economy.

    The management of the Maltese fisheries resources falls mainly under the responsibility of the Ministry of Resources and Rural Affairs through the Fisheries Control Directorate (FCD). All fishing vessels are registered and licensed by the FCD which also issues supplementary licenses for specific fisheries and gears. Fishers are obliged to declare whether they will engage in fishing activities on a full-time or part-time basis.

    Over the last decade the Maltese fishing industry has developed into a highly regulated fishing, especially after Malta’s accession to the European Union (EU) in 2004. It operates in line with EU legislation and recommendations of regional fisheries management organizations, namely the General Fisheries Commission for the Mediterranean (GFCM) and ICCAT. Prior to Malta’s accession to the EU, it had negotiated a management regime for a 25-nm Fisheries Management Zone around the Maltese Islands which it now managed in accordance with the provisions set out in EC 1967/2006.

    The European Commission, under the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund (EMFF) has adopted in 2015 a USD 30 million investment package for the Maltese maritime, fisheries and aquaculture sectors which includes USD 24 million EU funding.The package will support smart and green fisheries and aquaculture, while strengthening the economic viability of businesses in the sector. The programmes will support fishing communities by improving infrastructure and equipping fishermen with new skills and opportunities to help them diversify their business models.

    Since May 1993, Malta is Party to the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS); to the 1993 FAO Compliance Agreement (June 1996), and the 1995 UN Fish Stocks Agreement (November 2001).
    General geographic and economic indicators

    Table 1 - General Geographic and Economic Data - THE REPUBLIC OF MALTA

    Shelf area 8 036 km2

    Sea Around Us


    Length of continental coastline 253 km

    World by Map:


    Fisheries GDP (2012) 0.1% National GDP Ministry for European Affairs: European Maritime Fisheries Fund 2014 – 2020: Operational Programme for Malta

    Key statistics

    Country area320km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Land area320km2FAOSTAT. Official data, 2013
    Inland water area0km2Computed. Calculated, 2013
    Population - Est. & Proj.0.426millionsFAOSTAT. Official data, 2018
    Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) area52 923km2VLIZ

    Source: FAO Country Profile

    FAO Fisheries statisticsTable 2 in this section is based on statistics prepared by the Statistics and Information Branch of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department and disseminated in 2016. The charts are based on the same source but these are automatically updated every year with the most recent disseminated statistics.

    Table 2 – Fisheries statistics – THE REPUBLIC OF MALTA

          1980 1990 2000 2010 2012 2013 2014
    EMPLOYMENT (thousands) 1.35 1.23 2.08 1.22 1.18 1.18 1.17
      Aquaculture 0.11 0.21 0.21 0.20 0.19
      Capture 1.35 1.23 1.97 1.02 0.97 0.98 0.98
        Marine 1.35 1.23 1.97 1.02 0.97 0.98 0.98
    FLEET(thousands vessels) 1.09 1.04
    Source: FAO Fishery and Aquaculture Statistics
    1) Due to roundings total may not sum up

    Please note: Fishery statistical data here presented exclude the production for marine mammals, crocodiles, corals, sponges, pearls, mother-of-pearl and aquatic plants.


    Updated 2005The Profile

    This country profile provides statistics and indicators produced through FAO’s Statistics programmes, supplemented with information derived from national and other sources and valid at the time of compilation.

    Full text of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Country Profile available at /fishery/docs/DOCUMENT/fcp/en/FI_CP_MT.pdf

    Additional information

    Meetings & News archive


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