Hon Dr Mohamed Shainee of the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture and John Burton, Chairman of IPNLF, represented the two organisations at the formal event, which was attended by the industry officials, NGOs and media.
Pole and line fishing is a traditional method of fishing, widely believed to have roots in the Maldives, making it the true home of pole and line and thus an important component of the Maldivian identity.
Today, pole and line fishing supports some 30,000 livelihoods in the Maldives and contributes more than about three per cent of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Speaking at the event, John Burton, Chairman of the IPNLF, said: “The signing of this MOU is an important milestone for the Government of the Maldives, IPNLF and, most crucially, the Maldivian pole and line industry. This agreement officially demonstrates our collective efforts in building a stronger and more commercially competitive pole and line fishing industry for this country.”
IPNLF has been working in the Maldives since November 2011. Working with its European members to fund specific projects, IPNLF is helping establish best practices for pole and line fishing in the Maldives.
The collaboration between IPNLF and the Government of the Maldives has already led to significant success in the Maldivian fisheries.
IPNLF is supporting the Ministry and its Marine Research Centre on implementation of their MSC Client Action Plan for skipjack fishery. IPNLF is also one of the main supporters of the Management Strategy Evaluation work of the Indian Ocean skipjack required as part of the Maldives skipjack MSC Certification.
Earlier this year, the Fishermen’s Community and Training Centre (FCTC) opened in the Maldives.
Endorsed by the Maldives’ Government, the FCTC aims to provide long-term support for the country’s pole and line fishing communities through the provision of invaluable fisheries training and education.
The centre was funded by the Migros Engagement Development Fund, which was established by Switzerland’s Migros Group in 2012.