The Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture has published the First Amendment to the Tuna Fishery Regulation of the Maldives (Regulation No. 2022/R-139 ) on 30th November 2022. The amendment effectively changed the current stipulations in place regarding the number of expatriate workers aboard a fishing vessel. As per the amendments, local fishing vessels may employ up to 8 foreign workers depending on the size of the vessel. The regulation also permits foreigners to join crew members in fishing.
Prior to the amendments, a maximum of 2 foreigners were allowed to work aboard local fishing vessels. Further, such workers were restricted from actively taking part in fishing, and were only allowed to do other work such as securing the vessel or providing food for the crew. Consequently, foreign workers aboard fishing vessels, not following previously stipulated regulations, had been a rampant issue in the industry.
The number of foreign workers allowed in fishing vessels is as below:
- Maximum four foreigners for vessels smaller than 15 meters
- Maximum of six foreigners for vessels lengths 24-15 meters
- Maximum of eight foreigners for vessels larger than 24 meters
Furthermore, the classification of license registration fees was also amended. The new additional vessel category and registration fees are as below.
- MVR 500 registration fee vessels smaller than 15 meters vessels
- MVR 1,000 registration fee for 20 to 15-meter vessels
- MVR 1,500 registration fee for vessels larger than 20 meters
The amendments have been published in the Government Gazette and come into immediate effect.
Employment of foreign workers on fishing vessels would continue to fall under the Government’s regulations for hiring foreign workers, such as getting required quotes from the Government and adhering to the relevant laws for employing foreign workers.