Th. Atoll fishermen’s worries grow as Funaddoo facility remains closed

A satellite photo of Th. Funaddoo.

The delay in opening of the Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) facility in Th. Funaddoo is of deep concern to the region’s fishermen, states the Th. Atoll Council.

Funaddoo was developed in 2014 by a private company owned by former Home Minister Ahmed Thasmeen Ali to collect, process and export fish.

Thasmeen lost the island to the Bank of Maldives (BML) after he failed to settle a loan which he had taken with the island as collateral.

The government bought the Funaddoo facility, which had been closed since 2008, and handed it over to MIFCO in March this year.

“The main problem is the lack of any way to sell fish in this atoll. No ships from any company travels to this region. The second problem is, there is no way to manage the fish expect for ice storage. There are great concerns from fishermen,” said Th. Atoll Council’s president Abdulla Shareef Abdul Fathah.

Th. Funaddoo. (Photo/Courtesy of a reader)

Shareef said the Th. Atoll has over 40 fishing boats.

They all have no easy way of accessing fuel and ice, he said.

Shareef said the fishermen from Th. Atoll need to travel to L. Maandhoo to sell their catch, and face delays in payments for their catch.

“Having the [Funaddoo] facility operationalized will result in many benefits to the people. They will get jobs, ice and fuel. What’s important is the way that is beneficial to the people, not the government. We are tying to get an appointment for another meeting with the minister. We have no way to move forward,” he said.

MIFCO had previously stated that the Funaddoo facility would be operationalized within this year. However, Fisheries Minister Dr. Dr. Hussain Rasheed Hassan told the Parliament back in June that they do not expect to operationalize the factory until May 2023.