Demand for Maldivian fish exports pick up as European market reopens

Fishermen unload their catch by the fish market in Male' City. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Seafood Processors and Exporters Association (MSPEA), on Friday, said that the demand for Maldivian fish exports, which had plummeted following the restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19, had begun picking up once more as European countries begin easing restrictions and reopening markets.

MSPEA is an association which represents a number of the major the Maldivian tuna processing companies, including Maldives Inland Fisheries Company (MIFCO).

In a statement on Friday, MSPEA said that the price for frozen yellowfin tuna, which had dropped to MVR 25, had now risen to MVR 60 in the European market.

MSPEA said that the month of Ramadan each year saw a drop in fishing, usually leading to a shortage in fish exports to the European market when compared to the demand.

The association said that it was imperative that fishermen work harder than ever so that Maldives is able to hold the market for its frozen fish exports in Europe.

Describing fishermen as the backbone of the Maldivian economy, MSPEA said that fishermen were presented with a golden opportunity to claim their role in the economy.

MSPEA said that skipjack tuna fishermen were exhibiting great courage in continuing with their work in face of such unprecedented circumstances, and that yellowfin tuna fishermen must too exhibit similar courage.

The association said that fish were abundant during the current season, and that yellowfin tuna fishermen had the opportunity to sell all their catch and receive immediate payment.

Continuing to fish is something fishermen have the power to do to prevent the economy from weakening even in face of the COVID-19 pandemic, said MSPEA in its statement.

The association also hailed the government’s the MVR 100 million loan facility to promote fishing, and expressed gratitude for the support of the government towards the fisheries sector.