President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on occasion of the 39th National Fishermen's Day, Tuesday, expressed that Maldivians must have a role in the decision-making process to regulate fair trade prices for exporting fish and fish derived products.
Speaking at a function held in convention centre Dharubaaruge to commemorate the day, President Solih declared that, Maldivian products, which are caught sustainably via pole and line fishing, have a higher value on the international market.
Adding that fish export rates were assigned by international importers, President stated that the government, together with support from the fisheries sector investors, have a stake in reforming the assigned value.
“The administration will work on resolving the challenges in the sector by securing fair value for fish products in the international market,” the President stated.
Shedding light on challenges faced in further developing the fisheries industry, President Solih noted that as of late, the sector had been in a downward spiral due to inadequate policymaking from previous governments.
Moreover, he recognised issues frequently faced by fisheries companies, during the high season, such as lacking the necessary purchasing capacity to accommodate for the abundance of catch and difficulties in acquiring essentials such as ice, diesel and water during such periods.
Urging more investment in storage facilities to accommodate for over-catching, President Solih stated that the new fisheries policy would assist and encourage private sector investments.
The policy level reform also brought forward the removal of exclusive purchasing rights, which previously hindered certain companies from acquiring excess catch.
In response to a number of complaints from the industry, President Solih's administration has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Indian government to establish a 'Neighbourhood Fish Processing Plant' in Hithadhoo, Maradhoo and Hulhu-Meedhoo of Addu City.
In addition to President Solih, Vice President Faisal Naseem, Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture Zaha Waheed, state dignitaries and other stakeholders of the fisheries sector were in attendance at the event, during which the President conferred awards to major contributors to the field.