President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih submitted a new fisheries bill to the parliament on Tuesday.
A press statement released by the President's Office said the bill submitted to the People’s Majlis was crafted with the involvement and input of Maldivians who work in the field and know the industry well to facilitate the further progress of this important sector, and covers several measures and regulations to the benefit of Maldivian fisherman.
The bill states that the government will no longer issue fishing licenses to foreign fishing vessels, in line with the presidential pledge to ensure that the the Maldives’ waters and Exclusive Economic Zone yield the most amount of benefit to Maldivian citizens.
The bill also states that vessels who engage in illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing will be subject to harsh punitive measures and fines, said the President's Office.
Under the new proposed legislation, if passed, fishing methods will be restricted to pole and line fishing and hand-line fishing, and more harmful methods such as trawlnet fishing will be completely banned in the country.
The bill will also provide Fisheries Ministry with the authority to fix price-ceilings and floor prices to strike a right balance between the need for fisherman to make profits and to protect consumers from inordinately expensive prices for a basic item.
The government will also set up fish processing facilities to add value to fisheries products and will set up fish plants, and take steps that remove impediments to the fisheries market, the statement read.
While a bill on fisheries has been submitted at the parliament, main ruling Maldivian Democratic PArty (MDP) has submitted five resolutions on fisheries to the parliament. While four out of the five resolutions have been accepted by the parliament and forwarded to the relevant committees for further evaluation, the remaining bill is still in the preliminary debate stage.