Ismail Fauzee, the Chief Executive Officer of Maldives Industrial Fisheries Company (MIFCO) has revealed the company has disbursed MVR 670 million to fishermen so far this year.
Following a rough weather season, fishing in the country has prospered in the past four weeks, especially in the southern atolls, MIFCO noted, adding that fishing vessels are bringing hefty catches for processing.
Speaking at PSM’s “Raajje Miadhu” Program, Fauzee noted the improvement in fisheries in the past weeks has reflected in the increase in fishing processing. He further noted 41,300 tonnes of tuna have been processed so far this year, while disbursing about MVR 670 million to fishermen. He highlighted that 58,000 tonnes of tuna were processed in 2021, disbursing MVR 901 million to the fishermen.
“We have been processing increased amount of tuna since the first week of September. On average, we process about 600 tonnes of tuna a day. So if you look at last Thursday and Friday, we processed about 860 tonnes. That is a daily record for MIFCO,” Fauzee explained.
Fauzee said they are working to arrange a convenient mechanism for the vessels to process their catches without waiting for the queue too long, ultimately affecting the quality of the tuna.
Fauzy further noted that the tuna are caught in the evening, and some vessels to go out later in the evening for an additional catch. He said there were instances where a vessel have processed their catches twice in a day.
“In the past four weeks, 1 vessel has caught 230 tonnes. That’s about MVR 4 million. There are about 14 boats in the 200 tonnes range. Others are averaging 20 or 10 tonnes. This proves that fishing has significantly prospered. Now we are working on to improve our internal operations. More resources are on the way. So hopefully we will be able to increase the amount of tuna processing,” Fauzee said.
Commenting on the quality of the tuna catches, Fauzee noted the tuna caught now is larger in size, weighing about 7 kg and 8 kg. Therefore it takes time during freezing process, taking about 12 or 13 hours, which used to take about 10 hours before, Fauzee said.
MIFCO has been undertaking various efforts to improve the fish processing at their complexes to help fishermen to process their catches to the fullest. The company has assured they are currently upgrading their facilities to ensure an improved fish processing.