Government eyes alternative fish export markets, Maldives fish to be labelled ‘halal’

The government has said that the Maldives will look to alternative fish export markets, including the middle-eastern and the Malaysian market, after withdrawing its application for European Union (EU) duty-free status of imported fish from the country.

Earlier this November, the EU declined to extend the duty-free status on Maldivian fish exports under its Generalized System of Preferences (GSP) program – a non-reciprocal trade agreement extended to developing countries – as the government had not ratified all 27 required international conventions.

During a press conference held by three cabinet ministers on Thursday afternoon, Foreign Minister Dhunya Maumoon told the press that the decision to withdraw the application for extension under the ‘GSP+’ program was because the government was informed by the EU’s Brussels mission that the application would possibly be rejected.

“The matter with EU’s relief of duty to Maldivian fisheries exports relate to our reservations towards freedom of religion and other conventions.  These reservations were taken because it contradicts the fundamentals of Islam and our constitution,” Dhunya explained.

“If we get rejected that means the Maldives is getting a bad label. Such a rejection would be informed to all European nations in the EU. So to avoid the dire circumstances of that, which would affect the country’s reputation, we have decided to withdraw our application,” she added.

EU officials earlier confirmed to Minivan News that the transitional period of trade concessions for the Maldives was due to expire as the Maldives from 2011 was not longer considered a developing country.

The Maldives applied for an extension under the ‘GSP+’ program, a unilateral trade concession given to a limited number of countries on the basis of good implementation of human rights and labour conventions, officials said.

Officials stated that the Maldives did not qualify due to the country’s reservations to ICCPR on religious freedom and CEDAW concerning women’s rights.

Under the Maldivian constitution all citizens are required to be Sunni Muslim and the practice of other religions is criminalised. Customs authorities forbid the import of religious items and scan the baggage of tourists arriving at the airport.

Foreign Minister Dhunya however described the withdrawal as a silver lining, elaborating on the fact that the country’s fisheries export should not be dependant upon just one single market.

“I make it clear that we are not running out of friends in the international community,” Dhunya said.

Counter Measures

In a bid to counter a the impact of the decision the government announced the formation of a Fisheries Promotion Board (FPB) that will work on promoting Maldivian fisheries products to none-EU markets.

“I believe, if we can promote our products through the Fisheries Promotion Board, we can overcome the difficulties we would face from this change of arrangements” said the new Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture Dr Mohamed Shainee.

Secondly, the government announced that the Maldives’ fish products will be certified as a ‘Halal product’ in the future. Minister Shainee said that the government had been analysing other possible markets including middle-eastern markets and the Malaysian market.

“There are many markets around the world for us to export fisheries products. However, one of the main difficulties in penetrating such markets earlier was that we did not have a Halal certification on our products,” Shainee said.

“Today President Yameen has decided to give the legal mandate on issuing Halal certification to the Ministry of Islamic Affairs,” said Minister Shainee.

Minister Shainee also said that, although the Maldives will not be entitled to the GSP+ incentives, the fish exports to Europe will not come to a halt.

Rather, he described it as a change in the price of fish rather than an obstruction to exporting of Maldivian fisheries products.

“It is just that we will from now onwards be selling fish in a very competitive market,” Shainee said.

When inquired about involving foreign investors in developing the Maldivian Fisheries industry, Shainee said that the government did not wish to involve foreign investors as the fisheries sector formed part of Maldives’ primary industries and privatizing such could have detrimental effects on the economy.

The minister however said that that the government envisions diversification of the fisheries industry and the introduction of new forms of fishing that would further boost the industry.

“We want to diversify the market. There are varieties of sub-industries that we can develop including Mari-culture. However the government has not yet decided whether to seek foreign investments yet to develop those sub-industries,” Shainee said.

Meanwhile, the Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed said that apart from friendly Islamic countries and Malaysia, the government has held extensive talks with Russia and China regarding a possible entry into their markets.


23 thoughts on “Government eyes alternative fish export markets, Maldives fish to be labelled ‘halal’”

  1. Fish was never Haram in Islam. Why does Maldives fish Minister think fish need a Halal certificate?

    Strange kind of policy?

    Mr. Minister. Being on a headline is NOT policy making.

  2. The Honorable Minister needs a crash course.

    When he says the Gov 'did not wish to involve foreign investors' there are already Italian investors in Addu building a factory. And God knows how many otters are there.

  3. Is the Islamic Ministry going to send a sheikh on every fishing boat so they can slaughter the fish in a Halal way? What bloody non-sense is this? Can't these idiots read the Quran? I know they can't speak Arabic, so for Allah's sake, give them a translation. Fish is Halal, full stop! You don't need a certificate from the Ministry of Gammaru.

    Also, which part of Islam does Dhunya Maumoon not comprehend that she has to say that freedom of religion contradicts Islam? She may have gotten expensive education from Oxbridge, but her lack of Islamic knowledge shouldn't tarnish the religion itself.

  4. I am certain the EU heads are shivering in their pants. And I am also certain, the Arab sheikhs will prefer Maldivian fish over salmon and tuna from US/EU.

  5. Your Excellency Dhunya Maumoon,

    Islam is the only religion that actually guarantees the freedom of religion. From the time Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) first called on his countrymen to follow Islam, there was no compulsion. Islam flourished in Arabia and throughout the Islamic empire in an atmosphere of unprecedented religious harmony among people of multiple faiths.

    It is very unfortunate that you had to distort the good name of Islam for a political purpose here by saying that freedom of religion contradicts the principles of Islam. Nothing can be further from the truth.

    Yours sincerely,
    A Muslim Scholar.

  6. Air Transport is a major economic sectors that relates to fisheries. Tansport Minister should have been in the news conference. So much for cabinet team work !

  7. Are Maldivains dumb enough to accept what Dunya says at face value.

    Is she not the person who hailed CEDRAW and human rights conventions as successes. PLEASE go previous though news headlines!. The last thing on her mind at the time is Maldives exports..

    Now all of a sudden when EU stops benefits, Her Excellency is CONVENIENTLY UNAWARE of who signed those treaties who go the country in the MESS…

    where is accountability..?

  8. Give the Maldivian fish minister some fish and send him to Arabia chanting, "Halal fish, gannaane baa!", on the streets of Riyadh, Jeddah, Abu-Dhabi, Dubai etc. Bring in the Dinars and build a palace to last 50 years.

  9. Since fish is not in the special halal practices category it would be a straight out innovation into Islam. I think Shameem the Islamic minister can clarify on the implications awaiting Dunya to her.


    Now there is a clear example of overplayed religious angles

  10. The only thing that needs Halal label in the middle east is Beer.

    Would Maldives Islamic Ministry be issuing such certificates?

  11. The Maldiavian brains can’t perceive the world the same way others interpret the world around them due to wrongly integrated nerves in the brain. Now the guys are back to the comfort zone, you will hear some garbage and people will lazily buy all bullshit, this probably will go in the name of harmony and religious unity. You can accept Kafarun on this sacred land but can’t accept some idols that is as useless as Maldivian. Still can’t get rid of some brain activities that excites spiritual fantasies, probably the dark memories of idol worshiping and the conversion to Islam is still reverberating by replicating DNA of ancient diseased who went through that stark time .

    If you want get Crude Arabized Dollars, you have to have beautiful blond women, night clubs, gay clubs. What a bunch of crazy people who want sell Halal Tuna to Arabs, Malaysian and the whole Muslim community. Hope Anni can come Back to the scene so we can have some excitement again with a different narratives.

  12. Yeah, we don't want those Haram tourists from Europe who don't want our Halal tuna fish. We welcome Halal Chinese tourists. We will export our Halal tuna to the whole Islamic world where we have lots of friends. We will be very rich very soon. This is a jihad for the nation and for the religion. Thanks for the Laura for the dheen and qawm.



  14. Does this mean the fish Maldivians were consuming were HARAM... ...???????
    what an idiot to come up with such an idea.

  15. It is interesting that we have to see such stupid people in 21st century. No wonder, when you are ignorant enough your ego will drag you to do and believe things that are totally irrational. Japanese were brought to their knee by atomic bomb, now they have realized that such irrational behavior that comes from human ego is simply a destructive human trait. Now we are again going back to the old Qayoom time nationalism and religion that he was radicalized by Arab nationalism which is diminishing even in Arab world as dictators like Saddam, Gazafi, Nasar, and now Asad is nothing but forgotten cases. Sadly this fellow Qayoom is still surviving, this fellow is lucky enough that the Maldivian are still backward people who can be duped with this religious nationalist ideologies to lure them in to this megalomaniac’s trap. This small dot on world map, which most people are unaware or unheard of, desperately need the assistance of developed world , but it seems we are heading to isolation and will be forgotten by the international community. Who cares the raving of small fellow like Yameen, to support Palestine or condemning of Israel, We heard this bullshit for last 30 years and again it is revived. What a waste of time again. The ignorant Maldives wants to go to heaven and a megalomaniac is satisfied of his craving for glory.

  16. 51% of Maldivians voted to be ruled by the very same who ruled them for 3 decades. Any rational thinking person (the rest of the 49%) would think they're mentally retarded, but there we are. Such is life.

    Less than a month into the regime, we have non-sense like Halal fish! Moreover, the Foreign Minister is spewing downright lies about our religion Islam, the most tolerant and peaceful of religions that welcomes everyone regardless of race, colour or religion. The old Chinese proverb goes something like, "be careful of what you wish for". Maldivians certainly got what they wished for. Hope they like the result.

  17. I dont think simply stamping a label on the tuna will automatically create a market for it that was non-existent previously.

  18. sad to see these morons buying dictator maumoons stories so easily.We are like the skipjack we consume.Dont they say you are what you eat

  19. The govt might want to consider keeping the Maldivian water clean and pollution free in order to maintain the health of the fish stock if they want to continue selling the Maldives fish anywhere in the world.

  20. You have been eating non-halaal foods! You will all go to hell unless you pay me... one hundred million dollars!

  21. Most of export to Europe are yellow fins tuna and Malaysians hardly eat yellow fins.


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