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Fishermen outcry motion to Maldives Parliament

Mohamed Rehan
27 September 2022, MVT 13:15
Fisherman aboard a vessel catching skipjack tuna. PHOTO: GEMANAFUSHI MASVERIN
Mohamed Rehan
27 September 2022, MVT 13:15

An urgent motion highlighting general consensus of local fishermen have been lodged at Maldives Parliament. The motion specifically discusses fishermen's concerns over recent move to limit fish purchase volume by production companies.

The motion's proponent, Naifaru constituency MP Ahmed Shiyam argues local fishermen are currently running out of viable options to trade their catch. The MP highlighted lengthy queues and overwhelming waiting hours for fishing vessels, to weigh their catch at fish processing plants. According to the lawmaker, 90 percent of fishermen's catch is not weighed and needs to be either redistributed or discarded entirely.

The decision to limit fish weighing limit, and ordering vessels to wait in three-file queues extend the waiting period for the fishermen. This has led to an apparent revenue plunge, and the concurrent insufficiency to meet vessel expenses.

The motion highlights the alleged government shortcoming in complying to the current administration's campaign pledges; which included disbursement of appropriate wages to fishermen on weighed fish as one of the major pledges. Moreover, criticisms were drawn towards state's apparent failure of sufficient planning and preparation ahead of fishing heavy monsoons. The motion also focused on lack of adequate cold storage for fish.

Other concerns include lack of fish processing plants, neighborhood factories, and ice plants -- all of which were prime pledges of the administration.

Additional provisions of the motion highlighted on the recent move to limit fuel for fishing vessels, which has constrained fisheries activities subsequently. The motion's proponent argued that the limitations in place were grossly damaging to the industry.

MP Shiyam further highlighted the recent surge in foreign vessels operating within Maldivian seas during fishing heavy seasons. He argued for the necessity of limiting foreign fishing activities in local seas.

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