Deputy Speaker of Parliament and Galolhu North MP Eva Abdulla, called for the establishment of a retirement pension scheme for fishermen during Monday's sitting.
The member of ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) made the statement while debating the fisheries bill, which was submitted by Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Shifau on behalf of the government.
Noting that the fisheries sector was vital to maintain the Maldivian economy, she emphasised the importance of ensuring advantages and profits for the fisher community, particularly for their retirement.
While the establishment of pension funds for fishermen was an electoral pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the government-lobbied fisheries bill did not include any such clauses.
MP Eva highlighted that the president, MDP, and the latter's manifesto for the parliament 'Agenda 19', all vowed to modernise the fisheries industry and find solutions for the challenges faced by the fisher community.
As an example, she noted that the passing of the new bill would abolish the previous legislation included in the Fisheries Act, which came into effect in 1987, that allowed foreign vessels to fish in Maldivian waters.
Reiterating the need to afford benefits and sufficient income for those working in fisheries, Eva called to make amendments to the bill, including the establishment of a retirement scheme.
Other amendments she recommended include encouraging the youth to seek careers in fisheries, recognising the roles of women in the fisheries industry, and empowering women to be more involved in the sector.