Fishermen’s protest: Horizon agrees to pay MVR 8 million

From the protest held by fishermen at L.Maamendhoo

Horizon Fisheries has agreed to pay MVR 8 million to the fishing boats, after the fishermen’s protests held in Laamu Maandhoo heated, injuring participants, and attending officers of Maldives Police Service.

Fishermen began a protest voicing their concerns at Maandhoo – where the company’s biggest factory is based, due to not receiving payments for the fish they weigh.

A head fisherman of a boat at the protest who spoke with Sun said that the protest heated on Saturday evening, leaving some officers and fishermen with some injuries.

An officer received injuries to his head, and two or three fishermen were injured to some extent as well, said the fisherman.

Some of the pictures shared on social media show Police using pepper spray to control the protestors.

A participant who was speaking with Sun from the scene said that the biggest concern was the lack of payment weeks after weighing the catch. He said that Horizon owned them for over MVR 20 million.

Police using pepper spray to contain the protest at L.Maamendhoo.

He estimates that about 30 fishing vessels and close to 400 fishermen were taking part in the demonstration and that sometime Monday, protestors from Huvadhoo Atoll will be joining as well.

The head fisherman who spoke with Sun revealed that the Managing Director of Villa Group Siyad Qasim came to Maamendhoo and held discussions regarding the payment owed. He added that the company has aggressed to pay MVR 8 million by Monday evening.

Speaking further, he said that prior to this, the company’s management has on multiple occasions talked about paying but has failed to make proper payments to date.

Additionally, he said that they finally decided to protest as the payments for the bills were taking way too long.

While fishermen are voicing their concerns, so far, there have been no comments on the situation from the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resouces and Agriculture.

Parliamentarian for Fonadhoo constituency MP Moosa Siraaj has sent a letter to the Speaker of the Parliament to bring this issue to light.

In addition to this, an emergency motion was accepted in Parliament on Monday regarding this.

The motion was submitted by Maavashu MP Mohamed Saeed and Gan MP Mohamed Visam. After taking a draw, MP Visam was given the opportunity to lead.

Notably, the issue was accepted into the Parliament with all present members voting in favour.

While presenting the motion, MP Visam called on the government authorities to protect the rights of fishermen, and for the relevant authorities to work towards resolving this issue at the earliest.