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Thursday, July 29, 2004

A little fish soup

Following the tomato disaster in Nadur this past weekend, I was somewhat amused to learn about the upcoming Mediterranean Seafood Festival today. I wonder how many Mediterranean countries will be represented at this festival. How many of them will be North African and how many will be European? Or will this be just one big Maltese smorgasboard from a restaurant with an Italian name? What a great marketing idea!

Even more bemusing is the case of 6 Italian fishermen who were arrested by the Armed Forces of Malta early this morning. Apparently they were just fishing in Maltese territorial waters. Fishing in Maltese territorial waters by all foreigners has been illegal for many years, but I would have expected this law to be amended now that Malta is a full member of the EU. Through Medisamak, 11 Mediterranean coastal states receive financial support from the European Union: Albania, Algeria, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Morocco, Spain and Tunisia.

If it is indeed still illegal for any non-Maltese EU national to fish on a large scale in Maltese territorial waters, I suppose we have encountered one of the first examples where the Maltese government is protecting the economic interests of our country in an assertive way. If this is really the way things are, it almost makes me nostalgic for the days when Malta's way of life was far removed from that in any other country.

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