Horizon Fisheries Maldives in collaboration with Blueyou Consulting, launched a project to install water purifiers aboard fishing vessels in Laamu Atoll on February 21.
The project was inaugurated on Maandhoo island, as part of the ongoing initiative to declare Laamu single-use plastics free.
Speaking at the ceremony, Blueyou Consulting's Maldives Project Manager Abdulla Shakir Mohamed declared that water purifiers will be installed onboard all Laamu fishing vessels registered in the fair trade programme being conducted jointly by the consultancy firm and Horizon Fisheries. He stated that the project aims to eliminate single-use plastics from fishing boats.
Shakir noted that an average of 45 cases of bottled water are used per fishing trip, subsequently amassing a significant amount of plastic waste. He declared that minimising the amount would make a significant impact in the ongoing efforts to curb environment-related issues.
Prior to the inauguration, water purifiers were installed aboard two fishing vessels of Hithadhoo Island under a pilot project. Shakir stated that the pilot was a success, guaranteeing that the filtered water was safe for drinking.
Commenting on the project, the president of Gan Island's fishermen's association, Ali Hafeez, expressed hope that it would provide a solution to the large numbers of single-use plastic bottles used on fishing vessels, which are often discarded into the ocean. Stating that the project would also reduce water expenses, he asserted confidence that the project would benefit all fishermen.
Presently the islands of Gan, Hithadhoo, Kunahandhoo, Maamendhoo and Maabaidhoo have established fair trade associations under the fair trade programme. Shakir stated that efforts are underway to expand the programme to other islands in Laamu Atoll.
Under the programme, fair trade fishing vessels earn a premium income from their catch weighed at Horizon Fisheries. The additional income is meant to be expended on social development projects, with 30 percent allocated for environment-related activities. The water purifier project was undertaken under this initiative.
Blueyou Consulting declared that a key goal for the future is to eliminate single-use plastics from Laamu Atoll, adding that the endeavour was receiving support and cooperation from the atoll's fisheries stakeholders.
Blueyou is an international consultancy firm based in Switzerland, working to instil sustainable practices in global seafood production. Currently the firm operates six offices located in North America, Australia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Thailand in addition to its Swiss headquarters.