The Fisheries Ministry has ruled out any plans to allow shark fishing in the country after backlash from several environmental groups and activists for its initial consideration to lift the 10 year old ban.
The Fisheries Ministry stated that the Maldives imposed a ban on fishing sharks within its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) back in 2010 and that the complete ban has been reinforced with the recent changes to the fisheries regulatory framework following the enactment of the new Fisheries Act of the Maldives in 2019.
Moreover, it acknowledges there are concerns regarding recent statements made by Minister Zaha. However, her statements were made in relation to the discussions on reinstating longline fishing targeting bigeye tuna. These discussions had taken place internally at a technical level and in no way these discussions focused on lifting the ban on shark fishing.
The Fisheries Ministry assured that upon conducting research on the matter of shark depredation, preliminary results do not indicate that the shark populations have significantly increased or fully recovered since the ban was implemented 10 years back. The perceived increase in shark population and depredation could be due to regular shark feeding practices as well as dumping biodegradable waste into the ocean.
The Fisheries Ministry has made it clear that do not intend to lift the shark fishing ban and would rather discuss other alternatives with key stakeholders.