On 23 March 2021, the Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Research and Agriculture, stated that they were considering the option to lift the Maldives’ 11-year-old shark fishery ban. The Ministry stated that they see “no reason not to” lift the ban to reap benefits from fishing this economic resource due to apparent pressure by the fisheries sector.
Therefore, OceanCare together with 112 international, national, and local organisations as well as with tourism-related businesses urges the State Authorities not to lift the shark fishing and trade bans that have been in place for over a decade.
Through this international appeal, the international stakeholders call upon the State Authorities to uphold the rule of law to enforce the legal protections for sharks, to ensure accountability and to conduct timely and transparent investigations on the recent attempt of illegal shark fins export and on illegal shark fishing in the Maldives.
With Maldives having declared a climate emergency, it is inconsistent for the country to undermine its position as a safe haven and hope-spot for sharks which play a vital role in maintaining the health of the Maldives’ marine environment.
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