Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company LTD (MIFCO) has added 3 new vessels to its fleet. The new vessels will join the fleet of vessels weighing the catch from local fishers. for a peak fishing season to increase the fish purchase capacity. The 3 vessels together can weigh 240 tonnes of tuna in total, significantly improving the purchasing capacity of MIFCO in time for peak fishing season. The fresh vessels will reportedly join the MIFCO mobile fleet vessels and will be sent to areas with the highest fish catch.
MIFCO is working to expand its mobile fleet in the South of the Maldives; 2 new vessels were purchased earlier this year also and are now in operation. At the moment, there are 12 vessels operating in the MIFCO mobile fleet.
Registration of the vessels is currently underway and the vessels are scheduled to head to the Maldives once the registration is completed. However, the exact date of arrival is uncertain as of now.
The new vessels will help fishers weigh and sell their fish faster and more efficiently. It was a matter of great concern for fisherfolk who were unable to sell their catch or had to wait in queue for hours to sell fish during the peak season. In addition to this, some vessels have to take a long journey to weigh fish or to procure the ice necessary to keep the catch fresh. Concerns were raised by fisher communities in the South in September this year- the beginning of peak season. Many fishers complained that they were forced to discard their catch after being unable to sell them. Back then, MIFCO had a tuna storage capacity of 450-500 tonnes per day while the average tonne per day reached 700. The same issue arose in April this year.
An average of 100 vessels carry fresh catch to MIFCO every day and the new vessels will hopefully resolve the storage capacity issue.