Finalist, Advocacy Category
The Maldives delegation to the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) and Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture have been pivotal in the sustainable management of the Indian Ocean tuna fishery, in particular the skipjack fishery. The Maldives joined the IOTC in 2011 and immediately began encouraging other coastal states to form a group of like-minded nations to engage in the IOTC process.
Tuna are schooling, highly migratory species and their trans-boundary distribution makes management highly complex, requiring regional collaboration among fishing states to ensure coherence at a regional and national level. Supported by the Maldives, the first ever model-based Indian Ocean skipjack stock assessment was carried out in 2011.
In 2012, the Maldives and Mauritius successfully pushed for the adoption of the Precautionary Approach within the IOTC to protect against over-utilization of stocks. As a result of these efforts, the pole-and-line skipjack fishery gained MSC certification in November 2012, with support from the International Pole & Line Foundation. This was the first Indian Ocean and the first large pole-and-line fishery to gain MSC certification. The Maldives’ certification inspired Indonesia and Sri Lanka to improve their own tuna fisheries through the implementation of FIPs that aim for MSC certification. In 2013, they led the passage of a resolution on mathematical tools, and adding them to decision frameworks for fisheries management to allow quantifiable assessment of stock status.
This year, the Maldives advocated for a resolution that was passed to formally recognize Management Dialogue Workshops, to further legitimize processes within the IOTC. The actions of the Maldives evidence their advocacy of the skipjack tuna sustainability agenda in the IOTC by energizing interest and enthusiasm of both coastal states and further afield countries. They have shown dedication to public championing of sustainable seafood, influencing others to act transparently and responsibly, with a scientific foundation.
About The Maldives
Maldives is one of the most important pole-and-line fishing nations in the Indian Ocean with nearly thousand years of tradition. The fishery is now hailed as the most successful MSC certified pole-and-line tuna fisheries of the world – thanks to the hard work of the Maldivian government and their delegations to IOTC. For Minister, Dr. Mohamed Shainee, “tuna fishery is not a business for Maldivians, but it is the livelihood and source of food security for most Maldivian. Similarly, sustainable fishing is way of life for Maldivian fishermen, as we have always fished sustainably, one by one, in the Maldives
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