200 fishing vessels to be equipped with Refrigerated Seawater Systems & solar power systems

Pole and line fishermen land skip jack tuna in the Maldives. Pole and line fishing is a selective, sustainable and equitable method of catching tuna. | Photo: Fisheries Ministry

Malé, Maldives – Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture has launched a program to provide financial assistance to install Refrigerated Seawater Systems (RSW) and solar power systems on 200 fish boats on loan basis.

The Fisheries Ministry said in a press release that the program was launched to ensure that fishermen can keep their fish fresh for a long time and to address the difficulties faced by the fishermen due to lack of ice during the favorable fishing season.

The two systems are being installed on fishing vessels under a loan scheme opened through SDFC. While the project will install these two systems on 200 boats, the project will be implemented in two phases.

The Maldivian government has signed an agreement with the Islamic Development Fund Bank (ISDB) to implement the programme.

Under the first phase, 100 vessels will be given the loans within this year and next year.

Those who wish to install one or both of these systems on their boats will be financed through the SME Bank. Those who wish to participate in this project can apply through the SME Bank portal.

In the first phase, the information about the vessel and the systems required for the it will be identified based on the information submitted in the loan application and the information recorded in the ministry. The technical specifications of the participants will be considered and the second phase will be opened for participation in the finance scheme.

Vessels requiring cooling systems on board must meet certain requirements. They must have a fishing license issued by the Ministry of Fisheries and be currently used for fishing. In addition, the vessel must be able to store 15 tons of fish and be at least 50 feet long. The vessel shall also have space for such a system.

In the second phase, the applicant will be given the opportunity to choose the system required for the vessel from the list of suppliers listed in the SDFC. The price of the financing facility will be determined based on the system chosen at that stage.

The system will also be installed and the necessary training will be provided.

The ministry said that even before the deadline, the applications will be evaluated in the order of submission and funds will be allocated to install the system in the vessel.

One of the biggest concern of the Maldivian fishermen is the spoilage of the fish while waiting to be weighed and sold to the industrial buyers. Many fishermen also express concern about not getting enough ice for long trips. However, this system will provide a solution to this problem through fishing vessels according to the ministry.