Fishermen Protest Over Payment Delays and Fishing Policy Threats

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On Wednesday, local fishermen staged a sea-based protest over the delayed payments for their fish sales. The demonstration, organized by the Bodu Kanneli Masveringe Union (BKMU), a trade union representing yellowfin tuna fishermen, began at the Hulhumale’ jetty before moving to Male’.

Minister Shiyam visited the protest to address the fishermen, acknowledging that MIFCO currently lacks the capacity to purchase yellowfin tuna. He assured them, however, that the administration remains committed to buying yellowfin tuna as promised by President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu.

“We are undertaking efforts to strengthen MIFCO, and we will get it done,” Shiyam said, emphasizing the President’s intention to fulfill his electoral promises early in his term. “Please know that in these seven months, we have been navigating serious financial difficulties. Nevertheless, we are working,” he added.

The Minister also highlighted the government’s intent to proceed with policies after consulting with stakeholders, particularly addressing the fishermen’s concerns over plans to allow commercial longline fishing. He assured that commercial longline fishing would not be permitted as it had been in the past, pledging that any new policies would protect the interests of yellowfin tuna fishermen.

During the protest, participants called for the government to abandon its plans for commercial longline fishing, to ensure MIFCO starts purchasing yellowfin tuna as promised, and to expedite the payment of outstanding dues to the fishermen.