After much lobbying by those involved in the tourism, the fisheries ministry is moving in to ban shark fishing and export of shark products.
Citing studies which seems to indicate the possibility that sharks are becoming endangered through overfishing has prompted the Fisheries ministry after discussions with Fisheries Advisory Board to enforce an export ban of shark products which will become effective in 2010 March.
Dr Ibrahim Didi the fisheries minister said that the revenue earned from tourism was five times higher than that made from exporting shark products. However he did not equate the beneficiaries of fishing industry and that of the tourism industry which is if anything very dissimilar in shape and size. Fisheries industry is almost exclusively manned by locals in outer islands whilst tourism industry is manned and womaned by locals and internationals alike creating a greater dispersion of wealth for the beneficiaries.
Shark fishing in Maldives is exclusively done for the export market as there is no local consumption of shark products. Local fishermen are lured into this type of fisheries as the rate of shark items are higher than other fisheries products compounded with the fact that the market was controlled by the then government and the fishermen were made to choose between the rock and a hard place… However with the new government and new minister in place, the ministry is at last tackling the issue which can be very delicate as the fishermen has to be convinced of the negative impact of shark fishing.