Managing Director of State Trading Organisation (STO) Hussain Amru revealed on Tuesday that Maldives Industrial Fisheries Co (MIFCO) suffered losses of MVR 1 billion within the past years.
Amru made the statement while on a press trip to Felivaru, where the company's factory is located, at a time when the fisheries sector is raising concerns over the inability to weigh their fish at a feasible rate despite the upswing in their daily catch.
Noting that the current situation forced MIFCO to export fish to foreign countries at inflated prices, he emphasized the importance of utilizing all the fish purchased daily in order to generate a profit.
Detailing the issue, Amru said that despite purchasing an average of 150 tonnes of fish on a daily basis, the factory is able to process only 50 tonnes per day.
He added that the remaining 100 tonnes are sold to Thailand at reduced prices, resulting in a loss of USD 400 per tonne.
"When we sell the fish to Thailand, they process the fish in cans and sell it as a Maldivian product", Amru said.
According to Amru, Thailand factories sell the canned tuna to European companies. However, he noted that it was challenging for MIFCO to compete with companies that process fish at cheaper prices.
Amru also emphasized on the need to find an urgent solution for fishermen that are not able to weigh their entire catch each day. He credited the current administration for their steps taken towards solving this issue.
"The reality is that weighing boats have a capacity of 30 tonnes. Nowadays, [each] fishing vessel brings 30 tonnes".
MIFCO was listed under an STO subsidiary company in 2016 during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom's administration.
Due to the fear of the company going bankrupt, the government assumed the MVR 300 million debt acquired by the company at the time.
Since then, the state-run fisheries company has been operating under STO for three years.