President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Monday, ratified the Maldives Fisheries Bill passed by the parliament on September 5.
Upon ratification of this act, issues concerning the usage of Maldivian waters by foreign fishing vessels and the management of the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is now legally bound.
The new act will ensure proper regulation and management of banned fisheries activities, and unreported and unregulated fisheries within Maldivian waters. Under the act, authorities can enforce strict measures and fines to vessels engaging in illegal activities.
The Fisheries Act reflects the state’s policy of investing in the fisher community and ensuring better opportunities for those in the industry on a nationwide scale.
The new policies now grant fishermen similar opportunities as those in other sectors, including social protection through pension, education and training opportunities.
Moreover, the Act will promote sustainable forms of fisheries practiced in Maldives such as pole and line and hand-line, while imposing a complete ban on harmful methods like trawl net fishing.
The Act also ensures the establishment of a regulated pricing system which will allow fishermen to receive the best prices for their catch.
In addition to the above policies, the government will set up fish processing facilities, fish plants, and take steps that remove any obstacles to the fisheries market.
According to the government, the Fisheries Act aims to yield the most benefit from the fisheries industry to Maldivian citizens.