Biggest challenge faced is high EU tariffs on fish exports: Minister

The biggest challenge faced by the Maldives' fishing industry is the high tariffs charged by the European Union (UE) on fish exports to the region, Fisheries Minister Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan has said. The minister made the statement while speaking at a forum held in K. Gaafaru to mark Fishermen's Day.

In his remarks, the minister acknowledged that several challenges faced by the fisheries sector must be addressed and resolved. The main priority must be ensuring fair prices for fishermen, he said. The biggest challenge faced in achieving this goal is the high tariffs charged by the EU on fish exports from the Maldives, he said, adding that efforts are underway to find a solution.

The main topics discussed at the two-day forum were the difficulties and challenges faced by fishermen. In addition to the fair price issue, the lack of opportunity to sell Maldivian fish products to premium markets, the hike in oil prices, and increasing expenditure to carry out fishing were discussed.

The minister said the quality of fish products is still not first-rate and that a large percentage of fish products are sold as raw material instead of processed in such a way that it be sold at premium rates. Ways in which the issue can be resolved were discussed at the forum.

The participants also highlighted that the premium rates for fish caught sustainably by angling and handline fishing continue to fall. They also expressed concern that neighboring countries that fish in the Indian Ocean can sell their products to import markets for lower rates. They requested to consider such issues when bringing changes and development to the fishing sector.

Difficulties catching live bait and the effects of climate change on the seas and the environment affecting the fishing sector were also discussed.

Fishermen from across the country and senior representatives from fishing companies and technical experts participated in the forum and government stakeholders.