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Maldives: Is tuna being penalized for being sustainable? by Jason Holland June 11,2021   |  Source: Seafood Source

In seafood circles, the Maldives is heralded as one of the world’s most-important tuna-fishing nations, an acknowledgement proudly welcomed by Maldivians. But what isn’t so apparent to most non-natives is just how vital tuna is to the island nation. Its 2,000-year history is literally built on catching these universally-prized fish. Moreover, it’s been doing this in pretty much the same way down through the centuries – one-by-one. Essentially, one fisher, using one fishing line, catching one fish at a time. Its fisheries laws prohibit purse-seining, gillnets, trawl nets, or any other form of commercial fishing that uses a net. At the same time, the country’s exclusive economic zone isn’t leased to other nations and it has a strict policy of not licensing foreign fishing vessels. Furthermore, as has always been the custom in the country, each local fisherman receives an equal share of the total catch first-sale value. Even the “dhonis” (fishing boats) are built on the same design principles as they were by the forefathers of today’s fishermen, although the traditional raw materials of coconut palms have been replaced with fiberglass. “Tuna fishing was our mainstay until tourism came to the Maldives in the late 1970s. Until then, it was literally our

 

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Years in Support of Small Scale Fishworkers (1986 - 2018)