A training programme has been launched to train and place a rescue diver on every Maldivian fishing vessel, as pledged by President Mohamed Muizzu during his presidential campaign. The training programmes will be conducted at Gaafu Alifu (G.A.) and Gaafu Dhaalu (G.Dh.) Atolls.

The Minister of Climate Change, Environment and Energy, Thoriq Ibrahim, speaking at the launch event, said that climate change has thrust many challenges on fishermen. Among them, he said, was gathering bait while using dive cylinders for air—so that fishermen could stay submerged for longer and search deeper waters.

Speaking at the ceremony, Minister of Fisheries and Ocean Resources Ahmed Shiyam said the biggest challenge facing the fishermen was delays in payment for the fish they caught.

Shiyam assured attendees that the President would fulfil his promises to overcome the challenges faced by the fishing industry, highlighting that this initiative, to ensure the safety and security of the fishermen, would bring further improvements to the sector.

“Fishermen are endangering their lives due to diving without training. The administration also plans to reduce [the practice of] diving for bait. In line with changing times, pilot projects aimed at making bait harvesting profitable have already been launched,” he said.

The Ministry of Fisheries and Ocean Resources signed the agreement with the designated parties to train rescue divers at a ceremony held on Madaveli Island in G.Dh. Atoll. A total of six parties have agreed to conduct the training.

The purpose of having a trained rescue diver on every fishing vessel is to prevent life-threatening side effects from diving too deep while utilising air from dive cylinders and to avoid the loss of life. The first phase of the programme will train 50 fishermen. The programme is conducted by dive instructors trained in the Maldives.

The programme will teach and train individuals in open-water diving, advanced diving, and first aid. Those who complete the programme will be taught the skills needed to provide emergency assistance during diving and other marine incidents, the ministry said.