The Edition


COVID-19: Maldives halts fish exports to Europe

Mariyam Malsa
16 March 2020, MVT 17:35
A photograph taken at the local Fishermen's Market. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED/MIHAARU
Mariyam Malsa
16 March 2020, MVT 17:35

Ensis Fisheries, a major fish exporter in Maldives, stated that approximately 99 percent of Maldivian raw fish exports to Europe have ceased.

Speaking of the negative effects the changes would have on the company, Ensis revealed that America was the only country to which Maldives still maintained fish exports.

Additionally, Managing Director of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Co (MIFCO) Ismail Fauzee noted that there were difficulties in exporting shipments of raw fish to Thailand.

However, the MIFCO Managing Director stated that the export of canned fish is continuing without disruption.

He estimated that the decline in raw fish demand was due to the closure of restaurants and hotels in several foreign countries, as well as the global slow-down of economic activities over the COVID-19 outbreak.

Fauzee noted that private Maldivian companies that exported raw fish to Europe would be heavily affected by the recent market changes.

On Sunday, representatives of export companies and fishermen met with Minister of Fisheries Mariyam Zaha Waheed and Economic Minister Fayyaz Ismail for discussions concerning possible measures to alleviate difficulties in exporting fish.

The government has guaranteed the introduction of measures to address problems faced by the Maldivian fisheries industry during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Proposed measures

- Ensure convenient access to fuel for fishermen

- Introduce leniency in the repayment policy of loans issued to fishermen

- Identify measures to guarantee smooth cash flow for companies exporting fish.

The majority of Maldives' export revenue is sourced from exports of fish, with raw fish shipments accounting for as many as 60 percent of fish exports.

Among European countries, France, Germany and the UK were previously noted to be the largest importers of Maldivian fish.