'Fishing industry can climb back to the top if public, private sectors work together'

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has stated that the public and private sectors must work together to re-establish fisheries as the top driving force of the economy.

He made the statement after inaugurating the Ensis Fish Processing Plant and Ice Plant at Hulhumale' Monday evening.

Speaking at the ceremony, President Solih noted that fisheries was the top industry in the country in days past, however industries such as tourism had preceded fisheries over the recent years.

The President noted that the sector had been unable to cope with the increase in fisheries activities in the country, which led to the industry's decline. Both government and private companies do not possess the capability to purchase the full catch of local fishermen, said the president.

However, the fishing industry can climb back to the top if both public and private companies are developed enough to increase the manufacture of fish products, said President Solih.

President Solih highlighted that the economy suffers from a lack of fish processing capacity and the export of unprocessed fish. He further stressed that processing fish to add value to exported fisheries products maximizes profits and help fishermen receive better value for their catch. The President noted the Maldives fisheries sector had sustained for generations due to its environment-friendly model of pole and line fisheries.

Noting that Ensis is the first company to initiate fish processing operations in the Greater Male' area, President Solih applauded the efforts of Ensis in the development of the fisheries sector in the country.

President Solih also said that the government remains committed to addressing the needs of fishermen and will support the private sector in the advancement of fisheries in the country.

The USD 25 million Fish Processing Plant in the Greater Male' region by Ensis Fisheries will offer more than 400 job opportunities for locals among which 175 are earmarked for women. The factory can can 25 tonnes of fish per day, and can store 1200 tonnes of iced fish in its cold storage. The factory also has an iceplant that can produce 10 tonnes of ice.

Ensis Fish Processing Plant is the first cannery in the Male' region. This is the third factory of its kind in Maldives.