Fishing Zones

Malta manages a 25 miles fishing zone. The first 12 miles are reserved exclusively for Maltese fishermen.

Artisinal Fisheries

Fishing with small gears takes place close to the coast from small boats. This gear includes traps and various nets like the trammel net. There are regulations on where and at what time of the year fishing with these implements can be carried out.

Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs)

Fishing for dolphinfish by means of FADs takes place between mid August and the end of the year. FADs are placed from 7 miles off-shore extending to even 100 miles (depending on the size/capacity of the vessel). The individual course which are assigned to each fisher/vessel, are half a mile apart at the first FAD, and the further out one goes the distance between them increases. This is to avoid conflict between adjacent fishers.

Although during the Dolphinfish season, the FADs  occupy most of the sea around Malta, an area in the south of  Malta is left clear to allow for fishing for swordfish using drifting loglines.

The Tuna Migration

Bluefin tuna migrates in the Mediterranean between the end of April and mid July. Fishing for tuna using drifting longlines is mostly carried out outside the 25 mile zone in an area west and south west of Malta.


Bottom Longlines

We can group fishing with bottom longlines into two types. There is that which takes place from small boats within 12 miles of the coast, and that which takes place by large vessels fishing outside the 25 mile zone. The small boats target fish (like white sea-bream) which inhabit rocky bottoms in the vicinity of their home port. Others target cartilaginous fish (sharks and rays) on the shoal known as Hurd Bank and in the surrounding areas. The large vessels have the ability to go far from our shores target groupers and common bream,   to the west or towards Libya.

Trawling Zones

Trawling can only take place in zones which are designated as such by European legislation. Amongst these is an extensive zone on Hurd Bank where fishing for red mullet takes place in these relatively shallow waters. Another zone to the west of Gozo where the sea is very deep is popular for fishing for red prawns.  There are regulations on where and at what depth one can trawl depending on vessel size and engine capacity.