Fisheries Minister Ahmed Shiyam has said that the administration will convert 35 percent of the energy used in fish processing to renewable sources within the administration’s five-year term.

Speaking at the 18th INFOFISH World Tuna Conference and Exhibition (TUNA 2024) in Bangkok, Thailand, Shiyam highlighted administration efforts to keep the Maldives’ fishing industry sustainable.

“The sea is the lifeblood of the Maldives. It is the lifeline of the people. It is also linked to the country’s survival, life and culture. We have a huge responsibility for making fisheries sustainable,” the minister said in his speech at TUNA 2024.

To achieve this, the Maldives’ marine ecosystem, including fisheries, is now under the purview of the administration’s Ministry of Fisheries, Shiyam said, highlighting that special priority is given to increasing the value of marine products by introducing new and innovative changes to the fishing industry.

The Maldives exports more than 100,000 tonnes of skipjack tuna annually, of which more than 60 percent is exported for processing; something the current administration aims to change, the Fisheries Minister said.

“We want to ensure that instead of Maldives being just an exporter of fresh fish, that we add value to our products. The administration is prioritising infrastructure to increase exports to new markets and creating new employment opportunities for people,” Shiyam said.

In order to achieve this, processing factories are being built across the the country with the administration already having signed agreements to build and upgrade factories at Maadheli Island in Dhaalu Atoll, Fioari Island in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll and Felivaru Island in Lhaviyani Atoll, Shiyam said.