The Maldives fisheries sector remained weak during the first half of 2018, with a 10 percent decline in exports due to a drop in tuna volume.
According to the central bank’s quarterly economic report, around 40,000 metric tons of fish were exported in the first half of 2017 but this amount dropped to 36,138 metric tons during the same period this year.
There was a significant fall in the volumes of skipjack tuna and yellowfin tuna, and a substantial increase in the volumes of canned or pouched tuna products.
“This decline can be attributed to the increased efforts to diversify the fisheries sector by adding more value to local tuna products,” the Maldives Monetary Authority said.
The Maldives’ two largest fish processing companies had expanded their processing capacity and 98 percent of the total fish purchases by them were skipjack and yellowfin, it added.
But the report showed a fall of two percent in purchases following a downturn of fishing activity during Ramadan.
Local fish processing companies maintained their purchasing rate between MVR20 (US$1.29) and MVR18 per kilo for skipjack tuna, the report said.
It added that yellowfin tuna prices remained “relatively volatile” and dropped to MVR60.8 per kilo in 2018, from MVR67.7 the previous year.
Yellowfin tuna prices were MVR95.3 per kilo in early 2018 but dropped to MVR65.5 kilo by the end of June, the report said, adding that these changes were in line with the international market.
According to the most recent statistics, dated 2013 from the fisheries ministry, there are around 9,500 fishermen in the Maldives and over 800 registered fishing vessels.