MALDIVES - Switzerland’s largest retailing group, Migros, and the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF) have officially opened a training centre for pole and line fishermen in the Maldives. The new Fishermen’s Community & Training Centre (FCTC) will help the country’s coastal fishing communities maintain a sustainable pole and line tuna fishery
Endorsed by the Maldives’ Government, the FCTC aims to provide long-term support for the country’s pole and line fishing communities through the provision of invaluable fisheries training and education.
It will provide a series of free-of-charge training courses to school leavers and active pole and line fishermen. These courses will focus on responsible fishing practices aimed at improving the sustainability and efficiency of the Maldives’ pole and line tuna fishery, ensuring the industry’s viability for future generations.
A joint project by both IPNLF and the Engagement Development Fund, the project represents substantial industry support for pole and line caught tuna.
Speaking at the official opening ceremony, attended by the Maldivian Minsters for Fisheries and Education as well as community officials, fishermen, NGOs and school children, John Burton, Chairman of the IPNLF said: “The opening of the Fishermen’s Community & Training Centre is an important milestone for the Maldivian fishing industry; an industry we are all part of; an industry that is at the heart of the Maldivian way of life. The opening of this centre marks our collective, and considerable efforts, in building a stronger and commercially competitive pole and line fishing industry for this country, while directly supporting the local fishermen and their communities.”
Mr Burton also paid tribute to Migros and its Engagement Development Fund, which the group launched in 2012 to give voluntary support to projects in the fields of culture, business, sport and sustainability.
“Migros recognises that pole and line safeguards the health of our seas, while providing a sustainable source of livelihoods. As a retail giant, it also recognised that the unprecedented demand for pole and line tuna means it is imperative to work closely with these fisheries to ensure their long-term viability. Make no mistake, we would not be opening this centre today without their commitment,” he said.
Stefan Schöbi, representative of the Migros Engagement Fund commented: “The Maldives pole and line fishery directly supports more than 30,000 people, which represents as much as 15 percent of the country’s total workforce. Therefore, it was our Engagement Development Fund’s firm belief that this new centre will prove an extremely valuable asset to coastal communities. By providing experienced and novice Maldivian fishermen with the necessary training to protect their long-term viability, the FCTC will help ensure the sustainability of their tuna fishery for many years to come.”
Dr Mohamed Shaine, the Maldives Minister for Fisheries & Agriculture, addressed the IPNLF and Migros: "I would like to sincerely thank you from the Ministry as well as in the name of the fishermen and their association, for being with us, for partnering with us in this journey developing the fishing industry, to keep the pole and line a sustainable fishery and promoting it to other countries.”
The FCTC will be run by the Maldives Fishermen’s Association (MFA) and is located in the south central Maldives on Gan Island in Laamu Atoll.
From this base location, instructors both at the centre and travelling throughout the Maldives will teach active fishermen and school leavers on a range of subjects, from postharvest quality control to improved recording of catch and fishing effort, to safety at sea. The training material, approved by the Maldives Qualification Authority (MQA), will eventually form the basis for a formal Maldives curriculum on Pole and line Master Fishermen Training.
TheFishSite News Desk