President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has today ratified the Maldives Fisheries Bill passed by the Parliament on Thursday, 05th September 2019, at the 47th sitting of the second session of the People’s Majlis.

The Fisheries Act was formulated with the high value of the fisheries sector as one of the key policy areas of the government, both in terms of economic value and close identification with Maldivian culture and traditions. The Maldives Fisheries Act aims to yield the most benefit from the fisheries industry to Maldivian citizens.

The Act was crafted with the involvement and input from local fisher communities and industry leaders to facilitate the progress of this important sector and covers several measures and regulations to the benefit of the community. The act encompasses the formulation of effective management plans that reflect Maldivian fisheries and help in reaching national fisheries targets.

Some major matters such as issues concerning the usage of Maldivian waters by foreign fishing vessels and the management of the Exclusive Economic Zone is now legally bound. The new act will govern the Maldivian seas and effectively ensure proper regulation and management of activities, namely, banned fisheries activities, and unreported and unregulated fisheries within the Maldivian waters. The Fisheries Act will enforce strict punitive measures and fines to vessels engaging in illicit activities.

The Fisheries Act, for the first time, reflects the administration’s policy of investing its resources to the fisher community, ensuring better opportunities through engagement on a national scale. These policies ensure opportunities relatively similar to those of other sectors, including social protection through pension, education and training opportunities as well.

The new Act will promote the sustainable forms of fisheries practised in the Maldives; pole and line fishery and hand-line fishery, while imposing a complete ban on harmful methods such as trawl net fishing. The Act ensures members of the fisher community will receive the best prices for their catch through a regulated pricing system.

In addition to the above policies, this administration will set up fish processing facilities to add value to fisheries products and will also set up fish plants, and take steps that remove impediments to the fisheries market.