The Maldives Industrial Fisheries Corporation (MIFCO) will bring in a large foreign reefer ship to coincide with the fishing season, the state-owned enterprise (SEO) has confirmed. The 3,000 metric tonne vessel will arrive in Maldives this month, MIFCO said.

The vessel has now started its journey to the Maldives, while MIFCO is also working to bring in another vessel as this is considered peak fishing season. According to the company, this will solve the problem of fishermen having to dispose of their catch due to lack of capacity.

In an interview with local media, MIFCO General Manager Muaz Ali said the company is working to sell fish sourced from the Maldives to foreign markets. The company is also making arrangements for foreign companies to quality check the catch in the Maldives prior to shipping which will provide a major solution to the problem of rejection of fish sent abroad, he added.

“With this [practice], the company can claim insurance. Therefore, the loss to MIFCO will be prevented,” Muaz explained.

The reefer ship will dock at Kooddoo, after which it will be loaded with fish bound for the European market — the buyers will quality check the fish at the port.

Finding good markets is essential to the administration’s efforts to make MIFCO a profitable company, as the issue of selling locally sourced fish at low prices in foreign markets has been a major problem for the loss-making company.

The administration is now working to address this and maintain the quality of fish produced in the country and sell it directly to major markets abroad.

Muaz noted that the fish produced in the Maldives is ranked among the top in the world, especially in terms of sustainability in quality and catching methodology.

The reefer ship will address quality maintenance and the fish will be exported to markets where it can fetch higher prices, he said,

“Fish from the Maldives is expensive. Therefore, we have to go to markets where it can be sold at higher prices. The first shipment is almost ready for export,” Muaz explained.

MIFCO has not yet announced the exact European market to which the first shipment will be exported, although it had earlier said that a British buyer had recently been secured for their fish.

One of President Mohamed Muizzu’s key campaign pledges is to transform MIFCO from a loss-making company into a profitable one.

Within his first week the President removed MIFCO from the State Trading Organization (STO) umbrella, converting it into an independent SOE responsible for its own profits and losses; a decision that has seen many changes to the company’s management.