Government Minister Announces Discussions to Legalise Maldives Shark Fishing

maldives shark fishing

Shark fishing has been illegal in the Maldives since 2010 (Photo: Shutterstock)

The Maldives' government has announced that discussions are taking place to legalise commercial shark fishing.

According to local news reports, the Maldives' Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Zaha Waheed, has said lifting the ban 'presents a profitable revenue-generation strategy for the state.'

Speaking at the People's Majlis (the Maldivian Parliament) Committee on Economic Affairs, Waheed reportedly said: 'Very few countries implement shark conservation. Since it is a means to generate profit we don’t have to limit ourselves. [We can] open [shark fishing] as a managed fishery for a certain duration and fish without endangering the shark population.'

maldives shark legal zaha waheed

Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Zaha Waheed (Photo: Maldives Majlis)

Shark fishing was banned completely in the Maldives in 2010, following a reported decline in shark populations, which have become increasingly valuable as a tourist attraction. 

A 2009 study by researchers at James Cook University, however, estimated that a single grey reef shark was worth $3,300 to the Maldivian tourism industry, compared with just $32 as a landed catch. A 2019 study found that business revenue from shark divers in the Maldives was estimated to be U $14.4million, with up to US$51.4million in revenue generated by local businesses 'associated with the travel expenses of shark divers'; US$7.2 million in tax receipts; and US$4.1 million in employee salaries.

maldives shark fins title

A consignment of shark fins hidden in boxes labelled as 'salt fish' was seized in January 2021 (Photo: Maldives Customs)

In January 2021, Maldives Customs seized twenty-one boxes of fins weighing a total of 429kg due to be illegally exported from the Maldives through Velana International Airport (VIA). The sharks had been caught within the Maldives' waters, and social media users pointed at corrupt government officials as being allegedly responsible for the haul, valued at approximately US$170,000 at the time.

Maldives residents have taken to social media to protest the minister's comments.

 

digital dive gif

 

 

mulipack
 
THREE AMAZING DIVE eBOOKS - FREE

Love diving? You'll love these. Sign up today to immediately download our unique FREE gifts -

AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 WRECKS - DIVE's 70-page, beautifully illustrated, colour guide to the world’s best wrecks

SCUBA STORIES - DIVE's collection f real life stories where divers, who have got themselves into perilous situations, describe how they reacted and what actions they took to ensure they lived to tell the tale

PACIFICHighlights of the Pacific - Dancing mantas in Hawaii • The Best Diving in the World, Galápagos, Cocos, Malpelo & Socorro • Mass Spawning Events in Palau

Sidebar SUBSCRIBE spring 21 large2

Destinations Spotlight

Need inspiration for your next dive trip? Try one of our featured destinations from DIVE's travel partners.

sidebar philippines sidebar bahamas sidebar mexico sidebar fiji sidebar st helena 2020 Sidebar Egypt sidebar banner sabah sidebar banner belize sidebar banner south africa

DIVE Partners

sidebar banner egypt new ceningan divers ad 300x100 LH 300 min giphy subex Wakatobi Siladen Aggressor Fisheye Dive Worldwide gozo banner Arenui

Read DIVE magazine

DIVE magazine is available to read on many devices. Simply click one one of the options below


PCMac final
Apple finalAndroid final

Like what you see?

Join us on social and keep updated daily...