Maldives fishermen 'too well-off' for income insurance, says minister

Maldives fishermen earnings are too good for them to be in need of the government income insurance scheme 'Beyas Nubeyas', fisheries minister Dr Mohamed Shainee said Tuesday.

Speaking during a ceremony to mark the national fishermen day, Shainee said only the opposition has concerns over the insurance scheme, which was a key electoral pledge of the government for the fishing industry.

"The progress of the fishing industry has boosted the earnings of fishermen for them to no longer need the MVR10,000 payout from the insurance scheme," Shainee said.

Despite opposition concerns over the unpopularity of the scheme, Shainee said the country should be proud to have such a scheme in the small country.

"Fishermen are saying they have no qualms about not being part of a scheme that pays less than what they earn," the minister said.

Highlighting that the archipelago's fishing industry has witnessed unprecedented progress in the past three years, Shainee said president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom has identified fisheries and agriculture as the main pillars of the economy.