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Opposition to the lifting of the Maldives Shark Fishing Ban grows

Nick and Caroline Robertson-Brown

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Joint Statement opposing the lifting of the shark ban in the Maldives

On 23 March 2021, responding to questions from Members of the Parliament at the Economic Affairs Committee of the People’s Majlis, the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Research and Agriculture, stated that they were considering the option to lift the Maldives’ 11-year-old shark fishery ban. The Ministry stated that they see “no reason not to” lift the ban to reap benefits from fishing this economic resource.

With Maldives having declared a climate emergency, it is inconsistent for the country to undermine its position as a safe haven and hope-spot for sharks which play a vital role in maintaining the health of the Maldives’ marine environment.

Therefore, we the undersigned Concerned Stakeholders urge the State Authorities not to lift the shark fishing and trade bans that have been in place for over a decade.

The undersigned Concerned Stakeholders also call upon the State Authorities to uphold the rule of law to enforce the legal protections for sharks, to ensure accountability and to conduct timely and transparent investigations on the following cases:

  1. The attempted illegal export of 429 kg of shark fins seized by the Maldives Customs Service on 3 January 2021 at Velana International Airport;
  2. The vessel that was apprehended by Maldives Police Service carrying a large quantity of sharks and shark products in South Ari Atoll on 23 March 2021; and
  3. The illegal drum fishing line discovered by a tourist at the popular dive site, Fish Head in North Ari Atoll with several hooked sharks on 24 March 2021.

We urge State authorities to give serious consideration to the fragility of the balance of nature in the Maldives today. As a nation of 99% water and 1% land, the health of the ocean is vital for its survival. At a time where we are grappling multiple crises; the Covid-19 pandemic, economic crisis; to name but a few, the climate crisis and ecological crises are threat multipliers. Safeguarding the sharks is essential for Maldivians to be able to survive and thrive.

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123 Baby Sea Turtles Released in the Maldives

Maldives DTA Team

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Kagi Maldives Spa Island has celebrated the first turtle hatching of the season with the release of 123 sea turtles.

Guests, associates and team members from Euro-Divers Kagi Maldives gathered on the beach to witness nature’s wonderful event as the resort’s ‘Green’ team took the lead to carefully guide 123 Hawksbill hatchlings to their first journey to the ocean on Tuesday, 15 June 2021, one day before the WWF’s World Sea Turtle Day.

For more information visit the Euro-Divers website by clicking here.

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Diving with… Hassan Samir, Fuvahmulah Scuba Club, Maldives

Maldives DTA Team

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In this ongoing series, we speak to the people who run dive centres, resorts and liveaboards from around the world about their businesses and the diving they have to offer…


What is your name?

Hassan Samir

What is the name of your business?

Fuvahmulah Scuba Club

What is your role within the business?

Owner

How long has the business operated for?

We operate 4 dive centres in different locations in Maldives (Cocoon Maldives, Drift Thelu Veligaa,
South Ari Dive). Fuvahmulah scuba club is a new dive center in Fuvahmulah.

How long have you dived for, and what qualification are you?

I am the owner of the dive centre, I am an Advanced Open Water Diver and I started diving in the past
1 year only. But our Dive instructors are all qualified and have more 10 years’ experience in the diving
industry.

What is your favorite type of diving?

My favourite dives are deep dives.

If you could tell people one thing about your business (or maybe more!) to make them want to visit you what would it be?

The Tiger shark diving in Fuvahmulah is the most exciting dive any diver could have. It is 100%
guaranteed to see the tiger sharks from a very close distance. Also, Fuvahmulah Island treasure
sharks, and Oceanic Manta and Hammerheads are spotted often and it makes diving with us special.

What is your favorite dive in your location and why?

My favourite dives are Tiger Shark diving and Oceanic Manta diving.

What types of diving are available in your location?

Night diving; Deep diving; Open water diving; Drift Diving; Rescue diving.

What do you find most rewarding about your current role?

Meeting divers and sharing experiences with them.

What is your favorite underwater creature?

Oceanic Manta

Are there any exciting changes / developments coming up in the near future?

A new dive boat will be here in next 3 months.

As a center what is the biggest problem you face at the moment?

In Fuvahmulah everything is well organized and all the staff are given specific tasks. Each and every
team member does their job very well. We do not have any problem in organizing the dives for our guests. Yes! But the island has 7 Dive centres and each dive centre have specific time schedule for diving with tiger sharks. So we also as a dive centre get limited time to dive with tiger sharks.

Is your center involved in any environmental work?

Not at the moment.

How do you see the SCUBA / Freediving / snorkeling industry overall? What changes would you make?

As a diver I would say we have a passion for underwater and we must keep the underwater clean
and neat always. Not dumping any type of plastic in to the sea even if it a very small thing (example: cigarette butts)

What would you say to our visitors to promote the diving you have to offer?

We are a team of professionals; we will ensure you have a safe and memorable diving holiday in
Fuvahmulah.

Where can our visitors find out more about your business?

You can visit our website by clicking here.

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