Small Island Developing States

Assistance in support of the fisheries and aquaculture sector in the Maldives

Between 2005/6 and 2012 fish production has progressively declined from 180 000 to 120 000 metric tonnes, this decline can partly be attributed to diversification of fishery related businesses into other economic sectors such as tourism. Skipjack tuna is considered to be the most important species in the Maldivian fishery and contributes about 65-75% of the total fish catch, followed by 10-17% of yellowfin tuna. In 2012, total exports of fish were valued at USD 156 216 000.  This income is important to the Maldives to offset the budget deficits and finance their developmental and social objectives. 

The Maldives is party to a number of international conventions , but has not yet signed or ratified any. In the context of this project, The Maldives is a contracting party (CPC) to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), and has a legal obligation to implement the resolutions agreed by its members.  Illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) activities still continue in the IOTC Area of Competence, and actions to reduce such activities have been taken through the implementation of Port State Measures (Resolution 10/11) and implementation of a Regional Transhipment Observer Programme (Resolution 11/05 and 12/05) to monitor all authorised transhipments in the IOTC Area of Competence. However, unauthorised transhipments and IUU activities evade detection due to the lack of electronic coverage and monitoring of this area.  In 2017, IOTC intends to begin full implementation of a centralized Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) monitoring system for all its contracting parties.

This project aims to strengthen the government capacity to meet their obligations related to international resolutions for the sustainable management of tunas, giving particular consideration to the importance of this resource for food security and livelihoods and for the economy.The following are the expected outputs of this project:
1. A technical assessment of the status of the present and future MCS needs in key fisheries.  This assessment identifes the physical infrastructure, financial and human resources needs for the GoM to comply with its present and future commitments related to IOTC resolutions and in particular giving due consideration to a regional vessel monitoring and tracking system.  A cost benefit analysis of the implementation of different electronic monitoring systems will also be undertaken within the context of this assessment.

2. Conduct training for staff in implementing the Port State Measures Agreement. In this particular training will focus on practical protocols and procedures in order to comply with the IOTC Resolution 10/11, 11/05 and 12/05. A reference handbook on processes and procedures will be produced taking into account the Maldivian context and fisheries both national and foreign.

3. A study on the technical, economic and financial feasibility of implementing an electronic observer program will be undertaken and presented to the government.  FAO will provide technical expertise to conduct a pilot of such an electronic observer system once the government has purchased and installed the system based on the recommendation of the technical study.

4. A technical and financial cost benefit study on options for integrating GSM and satellite based vessel tracking software to a single tracking software. Piloting of such a scheme will depend on the availability of equipment and software which will be under the government’s responsibility to provide.  FAO will provide the technical advice and expertise.

5. Implement a training course for operators to manage a national VMS system.  This is subject to the clear identification and installation of a national system which is compliant with the IOTC proposed regional system and is therefore subject to the agreement of IOTC member states. 

6. A strategy for the development of mariculture will be prepared and presented.  This will be based on an in-depth study of the technical, socioeconomic and environmental aspects and impacts and how these are aligned with national and international market opportunities. The study will also undertake a cost benefit analysis and investment plan, if such feasibility is revealed.

7. Relevant project concept notes to obtain financing for continued support will be an important output of this project.

02 Apr 2015
 - 02 Apr 2015
US$ 219,832
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations