Nasheed: Chagos must remain safe from destructive fishing practices

The Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed (Photo/People's Majlis)

The Speaker of Parliament, Mohamed Nasheed has called for the protection of marine life around Chagos, expressing concern over the possible introduction of harmful fishing practices.

He called for all nations in the Indian Ocean to come together and work to stop this from happening.

Voicing his distress over the Chagos issue, Nasheed said in a statement on Twitter on Wednesday, that the depletion of fish in the Indian Ocean should be an issue that everyone should be wary of and that such destructive practices such as purse seiners and factory trawlers will only lead to such a catastrophe.

Local fishermen fish on a fishing vessel.

"In the case of the Maldives, our fishermen use pole and line one by one fishing techniques with no bycatch and maintained at a sustainable level," he said.

In the statement, Nasheed also highlighted and thanked the British government for their efforts in protecting the ocean around Chagos.

As there is a concern about industrial fishing in the Chagos territory, Nasheed beseeched the neighbouring countries of Mauritius, Seychelles, Sri Lanka, and India to join together with the Maldives and work to protect that precious ecosystem.

Nasheed released this statement as Mauritius is vying for the sovereignty of the Chagos archipelago.

An industrial fishing trawler. (Photo/Google)

As per experts, if Mauritius is granted sovereignty of the archipelago, there is a distinct chance of Indian and Mauritian trawlers and boats picking up industrial fishing in the area.

If this comes to be, it would pose a very big issue for countries that practice sustainable fishing, such as the Maldives. Experienced fishermen agree that this will bring the fishing industry to its knees.