Male’. Maldives – Former President and Current Speaker of Parliament Mohmad Nasheed said today that it has always been observed that the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) should be dissolved, and that Felivaru Fisheries Maldives should be closed, as research carried out over the last 30 years suggests that a large profit from fishing can only be achieved if individuals process and sell fish from home.
Nasheed said this while giving his insight during a debate on a decree submitted earlier this month to The People’s Majilis by Oppositon party People’s National Congress’ (PNC) Member of Parliament for Maduvvari constituency, Adam Shareef calling for the government to assist fishermen with the hardships they currently face.
The decree states that, fishermen sometimes have to wait multiple days to weigh in their catch, incurring unnecessary expenses. While payments for weighed catches are constantly delayed, prices for Skipjack Tuna and Yellowfin Tuna have dropped, causing difficulties for fishermen and vessel owners.
“It is well known that, before Maldivian fishing vessels had engines installed on them in the 70’s, Maldivian fisherman had been fishing, cooking, drying and exporting fish for almost 800 years, the Maldivian economy has always been dependent on fishing” Nasheed said
Nasheed explained that, 70% of fisheries exports are of unprocessed raw fish and that on a good day, this amounts to USD 1200 per ton, however the same amount of processed fish can bring in USD 2500 on a good day.
He added that, most government owned fish cold storages operate at a huge loss, and that this is mainly due to these being government owned, with the Finance Ministry sending Millions in subsidies monthly to multiple storages in Maldives. He also mentioned that since private companies were allowed to process and export Skipjack Tuna back in 2010, Private factories now manage to export 50 Tons of processed fish, which means the Finance Ministry need not subsidize such companies in millions.