Fishermen: Give hope with action, not words

Local fishermen carry their day's catch to the fish market for sale. (File Photo/Sun/Fayaz Moosa)

Fishermen of Maldives called on the government to give them hope by working to solve their complaints, rather than simply words.

This year, the 42nd Fishermen’s Day was officially marked in Gdh. Faresmaathodaa.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih is visiting Faresmaathodaa to join in on the Fishermen’s Day celebrations.

Upon his visit, fishermen of the island wrote on banners and expressed their concerns to the President.

They wore black and held long banners and signs with their complaints.

According to them, the biggest concern was a lack of fish factories in the atoll, while there is no way to sell their catch nearby.

Fishermen of Faresmaathodaa expressing their concerns at the welcoming of President Solih to the island.

“After fishing, the closest place to sell fish is Kooddoo. For that, need to travel about 70 miles. That is such a big sadness. Actually, a lot of fuel goes that way too,” said Sameeu Ibrahim, a chief fisherman of Faresmaathodaa.

Additionally, Sameeu noted that having to travel that distance lowers the quality of the fish. He added that this was not by any fault of the fishermen.

The fishermen of the island were also called on to solve the issue of delayed payments. This is an issue highlighted by fishermen throughout the country.

“This is [what we do] for a living. When payments are delayed, we are at times forced to spend out of our own pockets to go on the next fishing trip. But this time, because the President is coming, payments were made earlier,” revealed another chief fisherman, Ahmed Muaz.

Faresmaathodaa fishermen highlighted that these concerns were mirrored all over the nation.

When asked if the President had given them any hope, fishermen responded by saying that he did not make any mention of the fish factory.

However, they said that the President assured payment delays next year.

Furthermore, responding to President Solih’s statements about resolving the issues faced, the fishermen said they will only hope when action is taken towards it.

Recently, fishermen even held demonstrations to voice their concerns. During this, they called on the government to give a fair price for their catch, as promised.