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Blue Marine Foundation compiles Maldives’ first reef fishing code of conduct

Ahmed Aiham
09 March 2020, MVT 22:10
A group of nine fishermen signed up for Blue Marine Foundation's 'Laamaseelu Masveriya' programme. PHOTO: BLUE MARINE FOUNDATION
Ahmed Aiham
09 March 2020, MVT 22:10

Blue Marine Foundation (BLUE), in partnership with the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) based in Six Senses Laamu, introduced the 'Laamaseelu Masveriya' programme, a first of its kind fisheries code of conduct in the country.

According to BLUE, a group of nine fishermen signed up for the programme.

Loosely translated to 'Exemplary Fishermen', the initiative was undertaken to ensure the process of fishing, from catch to sale, is conducted in a sustainable manner. Moreover, the programme urges people to avoid fishing inside spawning sites across the country.

“If we fish in a clever way in the Maldives, it is possible to create reef fisheries that work sustainably for both resorts and fishermen", said BLUE's Executive Director Charles Clover.

"There is still a long way to go in safeguarding Maldivian fish populations for everyone, but this novel model is an important first step".

One of the fishermen who signed the agreement commented that he has “noticed a decrease in the catch of fish in recent years".

"If we fish responsibly then we can help to sustain the fisheries for generations to come".

Six Senses Laamu's Sustainability Manager Megan O' Beirne, hopes the signings will inspire other resorts to take part in the programme.

Fisheries statistics in 2014 indicated that Maldivians sourced roughly 29,000 metric tons of fish, just short of the country’s maximum sustainable yield of 30,000 metric tonnes. With constant expansion of the tourism industry, it is speculated that the annual catch of reef fish has since surpassed this ecological safe limit.

Reef fish play a critical role in the resilience of coral reefs, which is the capacity for corals to recover after natural and human-induced disturbances, such as coral bleaching.

BLUE’s goal is to ensure the effective protection of 30 percent of the world’s oceans.

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