Maldives fines Sri Lankan boat MVR 400,000 for illegal fishing

Sri Lankan fishing boat caught off L. Isdhoo Muli on June 20, 2021. (Photo/Fisheries Ministry)

Maldivian Fisheries Ministry has fined the owner of a Sri Lankan fishing boat caught operating illegally within the Maldives Exclusive Economic Zone.

Fisheries Ministry said on Saturday that the boat was captured by the Coastguard outside L. Isdhoo Muli on June 20.

Fisheries Ministry said the owner of the boat has been fined MVR 400,000 under Article 73 (b) of Fisheries Act – the maximum fine that can be imposed under the Act.

An official from Fisheries Ministry told Sun the boat had been engaged in shark fishing within Maldives EEZ, and that the boat did not apply for necessary permits.

“We found approximately 3 tons of fish in the boat during our inspection. Mostly shark,” said the official.

Fisheries Ministry said the boat was captured based on information provided by local fishing boat ‘Sealine’.

The owner of the boat, a private citizen from Sri Lanka, was fined following virtual hearings.

He has been instructed to settle the fine within 30 days.

Fisheries Ministry said that the boat will not be released back to him unless he pays the fine, and that the case will be submitted to the Attorney General’s Office he fails to settle the fine.

Fisheries Ministry is working in collaboration with the Sri Lankan Embassy in Male’ in dealing with the case.