Fisheries Ministry urges importers of live animals to comply with law

Birds put down under Attorney General's advice.

Fisheries Ministry issued a statement on Thursday, urging importers of live animals to comply with the law. 

The statement comes amid outrage over the decision to put down 120 illegally imported birds. 

Fisheries Ministry said the most important measure that can be taken to avoid such incidents was to ensure that importers of live animals act in accordance with the law. 

Authorities put down five shipments of illegally imported birds last Thursday. 

Fisheries Ministry said they acknowledged public concern over the decision. 

Fisheries Ministry said that while they were saddened by the incident, they were obligated under local laws and international conventions to inspect and quarantine live animals and plants imported into Maldives. 

“We note that as such, things imported into Maldives in violation of laws and regulations have been put down in accordance with laws and regulations, when necessary,” said the Fisheries Ministry. 

Fisheries Ministry said they were compiling a detailed report of the case at the instructions of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. 

Fisheries Ministry provided assurance they will protect living organisms, ensure protection of public health of the people, and amend laws and regulations in order to improve and expand quarantine services for plants and birds. 

The decision to put down the shipments of birds had prompted a protest in Male’ City on Wednesday. 

Hussain Athif, the managing director of Pet Master – which imported the birds – told Sun the birds were put down at the Plant and Animal Unit at the Velana International Airport. 

Athif said the 120 birds put down were valued at MVR 800,000. 

He said that the birds weren’t permitted for import when the shipments arrived, but that the law was later amended to allow such birds to be imported.