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€6 million project underway for improved facilities in Mgarr Port, Gozo

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€6 million project underway for improved facilities in Mgarr Port, GozoA €6 million project co-financed by the EU has got underway, which will see improved facilities for fishermen in Mgarr Port, Gozo.

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Ian Borg, Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana, Parliamentary Secretary for European Funds and Social Dialogue Aaron Farrugia, and Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Clint Camilleri, visited the port today to see the work in progress.

Minister Ian Borg said, “today we are here because we are launching a project with an investment of €6 million towards the improvement of facilities for fishermen in the Mgarr Port Menqa in Gozo, work which forms part of the investment we are also making in the maritime sector.”

He went on to explain details of the project which will include the rebuilding of the zone’s quays so that new pontoons can be attached to them for improved accessibility and safety, as well as around 90 new berthing places for the fishermen’s boats – who have been waiting for these spaces for a number of years, remarked Minister Borg.

In the past days, excavation and cleansing works have commenced, he said, and explained that works will be divided into different phases to avoid creating difficulties for working fishermen and other maritime activities in this port.

“Apart from these benefits, this project will also lead to improved organisation of the port area as well as aesthetic improvements, and that these benefits will reach a wider segment of people, as this port is also frequented by several residents and tourists in their free time,” said Minister Borg.

He added that “this work will also bring environmental gains, as new facilities will also be included for the separation of waste generated through the work of fishermen.”

“This is not the only work of the Ministry, said Minister Borg. “Work will soon commence on Mgarr ix-Xini and Comino’s Santa Marija Bay Quays, and work on maritime infrastructure is underway in Malta as well.”

Minister for Gozo Justyne Caruana stated that “this is a Government that keeps its promises. The project of the reorganisation of the Mgarr Harbour is in fact one of the promises in the electoral manifesto, under the responsibility of the Ministry for Gozo in collaboration with Transport Malta.”

Dr Caruana continued by saying that the reorganisation of the Mgarr Harbour will not only increase the facilities for Gozitan fishermen, but it will also address the numerous challenges this location is facing, mainly due to lack of space.

“This project will give a fresh new look to the Mgarr Harbour, giving a structured appearance to the harbour itself hence creating more space, and changing the pontoons and the mooring posts for the fishermen as was promised in the electoral manifesto,” she added.

Minister Caruana remarked that “hanks to the continuous collaboration between the Minister for Gozo and Transport Malta, the project is at the required advanced state to qualify for further European funds – thus Gozo will benefit from more funds amounting to €4.4 million.”

“Through other European Funds the dry standing area project in Mgarr can now be initiated, while works have already commenced on facilities in Xlendi following completion of the quay,” said the Minister

Minister Justyne Caruana said that the Ministry for Gozo is “committed to attract more EU funds to Gozo for the benefit of various sectors.”

The Minister for Gozo said that she is collaborating with Minister Ian Borg and the Parliamentary Secretary Aaron Farrugia, and this “coordinated teamwork has led to Gozo benefitting from further European Funds for more projects.”

Minister Caruana concluded by stating that this investment is only one of the initiatives launched by the Government for the benefit of the fisherman through EU funds.

She explained that the €29 million programme includes the construction of the breakwater in Marsaxlokk, the improvement of slipways in ports, and facilities for fishers in Gozo. Another project provides training for fishers, together with a campaign for the consumption of less popular fish.

A call for a scheme for diversification is currently open for fishers who wish to diversify their activities. The scheme, which offers €75,000, is open until the 27th of May.

Parliamentary Secretary for Agriculture, Fisheries and Animal Rights Clint Camilleri said, “without a doubt, those who will benefit the most from this important project are our fishermen because their facilities will be improved.”

“As Parliamentary Secretary responsible for the fishing sector, I am satisfied that we have come to implement this very necessary upgrade to the Mgarr port infrastructure.” Clint Camilleri added, “After all, this is a port from which our fishermen earn their daily bread. This work has been long awaited and the project will lead not only to the better organisation of berths but also to the addition of berths.”

Photo: MGOZ/Terry Camilleri

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