Fishers end protests with diesel rate cut decision

Fishers continued their protests throughout Wednesday until the government agreed to their demands of diesel rate cuts and a no-go on longline fishing for yellowfin tuna -- Sun Photo/ Aman Latheef

Local fishers have ceased their protests after Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Resources' assurance for diesel rate cuts and a no-go on longline fishing for yellowfin tuna.

Fishers began their protests on Wednesday morning following delays in settling outstanding payments to them, which the state owed through Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO).

Besides calls to the government to drop its longline fishing decision, protesters demanded to expedite their payments.

Fishers began raising concerns over longline fishing after the ministry held a meeting to discuss possibilities of incorporating the method in local fisheries activities - more precisely in yellowfin tuna fishing.

The Bodu Kanneli Masveringe Union (BKMU), a local union of yellowfin tuna fishers, on Wednesday afternoon said they will not stop protests until the government heeded their demands.

The union, later on X, said it called off the protests after the government agreed to their demands of forgoing the decision to incorporate longline fishing, and the promise to facilitate leniencies to yellowfin tuna fishers purchasing diesels from fuel sheds.

It added the protests were called off after BKMU and the ministry reached a concise agreement on the matter.

The ministry confirmed diesel rates sold to fishers from Hulhumale' fuel sheds have been reduced.

After protests began in Hulhumale' harbor, fishing vessels next traveled to the capital, Male' City where fishers continued their protests until Thursday early hours before the government announced it would comply to demands.

Meanwhile, MIFCO reports outstanding total of MVR 80 million in payments owed to local fishers; which the corporation said, it was trying to clear at the earliest convenience.

Minister of Fisheries Ahmed Shiyam on Wednesday also said the state's pledges to fishers can be fulfilled only when the economic conditions stabilize, adding MIFCO is currently unable to purchase yellowfin tuna from local fishers owing to its financial constraints.