Hundreds of non-Maldivian fishing vessels operating illegally

Hundreds of non-Maldivian fishing vessels operating illegally
October 11 16:02 2017

Hundreds of non-Maldivian fishing vessels have been operating illegally in the nation’s waters, according to an assessment from the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture.

The assessment was conducted with help from international cooperation, based on Automatic Identification System (AIS) data collected through satellite service providers.

The two-year study identified 432 vessels performing unauthorized activities in Maldivian Exclusive Economic Zones, in addition to 542 unauthorised drifting buoys deployed or drifting through Maldivian waters, reported Fish Information and Services.

The government has alerted international bodies about this violation, said FIS.

FIS, which claims to be the world’s most comprehensive website for the commercial fishing industry, said Alakarma of the Echebaster Fleet SLU was one of the vessels identified as conducting illegal, unregulated, and unreported fishing in the Maldives.

Alakarma is currently in the process of seeking Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification for purse-seine fisheries in the Indian Ocean.

Officials from the Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture, which carried out the assessment, was unable to comment on the assessment or provide further information on it when contacted by the Maldives Independent.

Neither the ministry’s permanent secretary nor the fisheries minister responded to calls at the time of publication.

Maldivian fisheries are sustained through pole-and-line fishing.  Purse-seine fishing – whereby a vessel deploys an enormous net to encircle and capture entire schools of fish at once – is illegal in the Maldives.