Steps will soon be put in place for fishermen to receive consistent, timely payments for their catch sold to state-owned enterprises (SOEs), according to Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Resources Ahmed Shiyam. He made this announcement on Friday while speaking at the launch of the fishermen’s rescue diving programme on Madaveli Island, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.

Several problems persist in the fisheries sector, including delayed payments to fishermen, a significant concern among fishermen, the minister acknowledged. The new administration could not immediately pay out the outstanding dues to fishermen due to the state’s financial situation, but Shiyam said efforts are underway to address these issues.

“We were aware of these difficulties and still assumed responsibility for the fishermen. The president took over for the people and the country. He is working tirelessly to solve the problem. I am confident that the President will soon arrange for the payment of the fishermen,” the minister said.

Over MVR 136 million has been paid to fishermen since the Mohamed Muizzu administration took office in November last year.

The main objective of the rescue diver training programme is to ensure safe fishing and the safety of fishermen. Six diving facilities have signed on to train rescue divers to reduce life-threatening incidents at sea.

The minister said that ensuring every fishing vessel has at least one trained diver demonstrates the president’s commitment to the industry. He noted that the President paid particular attention to the fishing industry during his first state visit to China and signed agreements on the development of the industry and training, as well as education, for those involved in the industry.

There have been many tragic incidents where fishermen diving at sea have faced life-threatening situations. Therefore, to reduce such incidents, it is crucial to have fully trained divers on board, Shiyam said during Fishermen’s Day celebrations last year.