Former Economic Minister, Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed has called for an end to discrimination between tourism and fisheries industries to effect development to Maldives’ fisheries industry.
Speaking during the parliamentary debate on the revisions proposed on behalf of the government to the Fisheries Bill this Tuesday, Saeed noted that the Fisheries Bill lacked mention of the five fisheries resolutions passed by government parliamentarians in July.
The opposition parliamentarian also voiced concern over discrimination in government spending on tourism and fisheries.
Saeed said that the government spent MVR 154 million per annum on tourism promotion, but not a cent on promotion of fisheries.
He also said that though the government intervenes to assist resorts which declare financial trouble, no concern is raised at a government-level to address breakdowns of fishing vessels.
“Therefore, the fishermen have no hope of receiving a fair price for their catch for as long as the discrimination between these two industries exists. There is no chance of fishermen standing up to their true height, or of coloring their dreams even close to what you call their rightful worth,” said Saeed.
He also questioned if the government had any plans to train and develop young fishermen, the way it had hotel school to train and develop the younger generation in hospitality and tourism.
“These two industries are discriminated, the same as racial discrimination, because the fishermen come from outlying islands, because fishing boats at built in the atolls, and because this does not involve business giants. I therefore call for an end to this,” said Saeed.
Fisheries Bill was submitted to the Parliament on behalf of the government by Ihavandhoo MP Mohamed Shifau. Many of the parliamentarians who spoke during the preliminary debate on the bill on Monday said the bill required major revisions.