Switzerland’s retailing group Migros and the International Pole and Line Foundation (IPNLF) have opened a training centre for Maldivian fishermen.
The fishing industry news source ‘Fish Site’ reported that the aim of the newly opened Fishermen’s Community and Training Centre (FCTC) was to provide long term support for the country’s pole and line fishing communities through fisheries training and education.
According the website, the FCTC will provide free training courses for active fishermen and school leavers.
The source quoted Chairman of the IPNLF John Burton, who described the training centre as “an important milestone for the Maldivian fishing industry, an industry we are all part of, an industry that is at the heart of Maldivian way of life.’’
Government records show that, in 2012, over 120,000 metric tons of fish were caught in the Maldives, with over 10,000 fishermen registered.
“The opening of this centre marks our collective and considerable efforts in building a stronger and commercially competitive pole and line fishing industry for this country, while directly supporting the local fishermen and their communities,’’ said Burton.
Also present at the ceremony, Maldives Fisheries Minister Dr Mohamed Shainee sincerely thanked everyone supporting the program in the name of the ministry and local fishermen for partnering in the development of the fishing industry, keeping pole and line fishing a sustainable method as well as promoting it to other countries.
The FCTC is based in Gan in Laamu Atoll, and will be run by Maldives Fishermen Association.
In November 2013, The European Union declined to extend the duty-free status of imported fish from the Maldives, following the country’s failure to comply with international conventions concerning freedom of religion.
The Maldives exports 40 percent of its US$100 million fishing industry to the EU – its single largest export partner by value.
However, in an interview with Minivan News, Fisheries Minister Dr Shainee stated that this issue could be solved through bilateral relations between the countries in EU.
“The European market or consumer will be affected from this as well. There will a lot of pressure from the consumer’s side, as when prices of fish go up, it’s not just us carrying the burden, but also the consumers. So I think there will be a lot of pressure,’’ he told Minivan News.
Shainee noted that there would be a lot of pressure from the consumers in Europe, with the minister suggesting that people were more educated and wanted these types of niche products.
“Maldives is the only country that doesn’t catch by-catch fish. We are dolphin free. We are catching one by one. We are the most green fisheries industry in the world, in fact. So I am sure the consumers in the European market would like to get something from this side of the world which is more green and environmental friendly,’’ he added.