Two Sri Lankan fishing boats were seized by the Maldives Coast Guard Tuesday evening as they were patrolling near one of the country’s most lucrative fishing zones.
The vessels were spotted near Vaavu atoll.
“The boats are under our control now and we are trying to bring them to Malé. Each boat had five crew members,” army spokesman Captain Ibrahim Azim said.
The boats are being investigated for illegally entering and fishing inside the Maldives Economic Zone.
Earlier this month the coast guard conducted a stop and search mission after reports of illegal fishing by five Sri Lankan boats. However the boats were released after they produced a permit to travel to Mauritius from Sri Lanka.
But the Maldive Fisheries Ministry later stated the boats did not have a permit to cross Maldivian waters.
A ministry report published in October said hundreds of foreign fishing vessels were operating illegally in Maldivian seas every year.
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.