The National Aquaculture Centre (NAC) was set up at Fort San Lucjan in 1988 by the Ministry for Food, Agriculture and Fisheries. The primary aim was to pioneer the development of fish farming as a new industrial activity in Malta. In 1992 a pilot marine hatchery was established for the production of sea bass and sea bream. After a slump in sea bass and bream production in the late 90’s, the centre covered research work on both fisheries and aquaculture and was renamed as the Malta Centre for Fisheries Sciences in 2001. Research on the amberjack started in 2006, when the hatchery technology was improved and the rearing of sea bream and amberjacks started. Since then, the hatchery has developed substantially and research is now carried out on the amberjack, blue-fin tuna, sea bream and sea bass with other species such as the grouper and meagre in the pipeline.
Today the Centre has once again become an aquaculture centre, named the Malta Aquaculture Research Centre (MARC) - the only research facility on Malta for hatching marine species for mariculture. Many improvements have been made in the marine hatchery to accommodate amberjack and bluefin tuna larvae. The main stream of research focuses on the diversification of species to be produced for mariculture, with success obtained on a national level with the Amberjack Project and on an EU level with the SELFDOTT project.
MARC also houses the Turtle Rehabilitation Unit that falls under the same Ministry.