Following a gloomy yet unkind June-July weather in the country, fishermen has reportedly begun a season of prosperous fishing across the country. However, the increase in number of catches come with distresses for the fishermen.
Two major complaints from fishermen from southern atoll, Gaaf Alif, are that they have to wait several hours in queue before their catches are weighed, and they are unable to get ice to better store the fish on their vessels. The latter issue reportedly affects the quality of the fish, resulting in MIFCO not weighing the fish.
MIFCO’s Kooddoo weighs about 540 tonnes of fish per day, with a total capacity to store 2,000 in their island facilities. MIFCO said about 25 boats on average were in the queue and the MIFCO vessels are weighing the catches 24/7. MIFCO further revealed the issue with getting ice is due to their ice factory in Dhevvadhoo not being in operation currently.
Ice is reportedly not available from the plants in Fiyoari, Faresmaathoda, Kolamaafushi and Dhevvadhoo. The fishermen in Gaaf Alif and Gaaf Dhaal Atoll now only receive the required ice from Gaaf Alif Atoll Gemenafushi and Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Thinadhoo. Fishermen noted they require about 15 tonnes of ice a day and if not, it is difficult to keep the fish at required quality before weighing.
Earlier this year, fishermen complained of long queues during the improved fishing season. At the time, fishermen complained that MIFCO had limited the catch to five tonnes per boat. That was later changed with the dissatisfaction of the fishermen.