President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Tuesday, submitted a 'Fisheries Bill' to the Parliament.
According to President's Office, the fisheries sector is one of the most important policy areas of the current administration, with a close identification with Maldivian culture and traditions and a significant economic value.
The bill was formulated with the involvement of relevant stakeholders in order to further facilitate developments within the sector and addresses several measures and regulations that aim to benefit the Maldivian fishermen.
Till date, several administrations have dealt with the issue of unlicensed vessels fishing in Maldivian’ waters and the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The government has proposed more stringent policies to tackle illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Moreover, the government warned of harsh punitive measures and fines on those found to be violating such laws.
If passed, fishing methods will be restricted to the two main methods of fishing used in the country - pole and line and hand-line fishing, while the more harmful methods such as trawl net fishing will be banned.
In addition, the reforms will end exclusive privileges granted to four specific businesses to trade in skipjack tuna.
"This will also prove a boon to our fisheries exports on the international market as eco-friendly consumers will have confidence that fish products originating from the Maldives are produced through sustainable fishing practices."
The government also proposed to impose price-ceilings and price-floors in order to "strike a right balance between the need for fisherman to make profits and to protect consumers from inordinately expensive prices for a basic item".