Divers Threaten to Boycott Country if Shark Fishing Legalised

shark fishing 1000

The Maldives' government announcement of discussions to legalise shark fishing for profit after an 11-year ban on the activity has resulted in international condemnation and an increasing backlash from the dive community threatening to boycott the country once lockdown is lifted.

Despite studies showing that shark-diving tourism brings in millions of dollars each year for the island nation, on 23 March, the Maldives' Minister of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture, Zaha Waheed, said that lifting the ban 'presents a profitable revenue-generation strategy for the state,' adding that 'very few countries implement shark conservation. Since it is a means to generate profit we don’t have to limit ourselves.'

The backlash has been swift, with divers responding to the announcement on Facebook that they would not visit the country for future holidays, or may cancel planned trips should the decision not be reversed. In an e-mail copied to DIVE, a dive club member planning a post-lockdown trip to the Maldives has written directly to the Maldives' Tourist Association, Public Relations Corporation, and Ministry of Fisheries (addresses below), to make their case clear:

'Our dive club hasn't been able to travel due to Covid and we planned to celebrate the return of foreign dive trips with a no-expenses-spared trip to the Maldives. Based on this news report, our club has just agreed to look into alternative destinations as we don't want to be seen to be supporting countries that promote the killing of marine species that are already under threat.

We all hope that the Maldives will continue its ban on shark fishing so that we can continue to view it as one of the world's best dive destinations.'

A Change.org petition has been started by a citizen of the Maldives, which as of Monday morning has reached almost 12,500 signatures. Divers and conservationists who would like to make their objections known more directly can write to:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Maldives Marketing & Public Relations Corporation)
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Maldives Tourist Association)
  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources and Agriculture)


digital dive gif





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

New Upright Gift Banners 300 x 600 px

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...