Govt. permits expat fishermen to work aboard local fishing vessels

Expatriate worker aboard a local fishing vessel. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldivian government, on Wednesday, has permitted expatriate fishermen to work aboard fishing vessels.

Expatriates illegally working aboard fishing vessels is a longstanding issue in the Maldives. Previous regulations dictated that local fishing vessels can employ a maximum of two expatriate workers for tasks such as maintaining the security of the vessel, and cooking for the crew members.

The newest amendment to ‘Regulations on the Planning and Management Fisheries’ publicized on Wednesday permits expatriates to work aboard local fishing vessels as fishermen.

Article 18 (a) of the previous regulation prohibited expatriates from working aboard local fishing vessels as fishermen. The latest amendment omitted Article 18 (a).  

However, the amendment specifies the number of expatriates that can be employed on local fishing vessels based on their sizes.

In this regard, fishing vessels measuring less than 15 meters can employ a maximum of four expatriates.

Fishing vessels measuring between 15 meters and 24 meters can employ a maximum of six expatriates.

Fishing vessels measuring larger than 24 meters can employ a maximum of eight expatriates.

Neverthless, expatriates can only be employed after obtaining the necessary government quotas.

Apart from this, the expatriate workers must also be paid their salaries and allowances in accordance with the law on employing expatriates in the Maldives.

Fisheries is an economic activity in the Maldives traditionally engaged by locals. Expatriates were prohibited from engaging in the activity over fears of expatriate workers in the field outweighing the locals.