Four hundred and thirty-two foreign vessels were caught illegally fishing in Maldivian waters in the last two years, a review by the Fisheries Ministry has found.
The ministry’s review states that this is the number of vessels caught fishing within the Maldives’ economic zones.
In a press conference last year, Fisheries Minister Mohamed Shainee said that local fishing vessels have been advised to occupy these zones as much as possible in order to discourage unlicensed fishing by foreign vessels.
Minister Shainee had then said that fishing outside the zone is yet uncontrollable but that the government is in talks with Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to solve this issue.
In recent years, the Maldivian Coast Guard has given high priority to monitor illegal activities within the economic zones and Maldivian waters in general.
The number of apprehended vessels have grown as well, as only about seven fishing vessels illegally fishing in the Maldives had been caught a year on average between 1991 and 2000.