Fisheries Ministry investigates shark fishing in Fuvahmulah

Illegal shark fishery in Fuvahmulah | Photo: Twitter

Malé, Maldives – Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture on Sunday launched a probe into illegal shark fishery in Fuvahmulah following a viral video.

The drone video by a local photographer showed three local fishermen catching sharks, removing parts and discarding them into the sea near Rasgefannu, Fuvahmulah.

Fisheries Ministry confirms that the video is being investigated by the ministry.

The Maldives adopted the Precautionary Approach and imposed a ban on shark fishing within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in 2010. Maldives was the first Indian Ocean country to declare the whole of its EEZ as a shark sanctuary. The ban was imposed under the former Fisheries Act of the Maldives (Act no. 5/87) followed by the closure of a minor shark fishery to ensure that shark species are protected and conserved.

The complete ban has since been reinforced with the recent changes to the fisheries regulatory framework following the enactment of the new Fisheries Act of the Maldives (Act no. 14/2019), with the extension of the ban to include a ban on retention of sharks for all Maldivian fishing vessels irrespective of fishing area.

Multiple cases are in various stages of prosecution regarding the trade of shark fins in the Maldives.