Formerly, Maldives shipped 90 percent of its fishing catch of tuna in dried form to Sri Lanka. However, because Sri Lanka cut back its imports of such fish, in 1979 Maldives joined with the Japanese Marubeni Corporation to form the Maldives Nippon Corporation that canned and processed fresh fish. Also in 1979 the Maldivian government created the Maldives Fisheries Corporation to exploit fisheries resources generally.
Maldives has an extensive fishing fleet of boats built domestically of coconut wood, each of which can carry about twelve persons. In 1991 there were 1,258 such pole and line fishing boats and 352 trawlers. Based on a US$3.2 million loan from the International Development Association (IDA), most of the boats have been mechanized in the course of the 1980s. Although the addition of motors has increased fuel costs, it has resulted in doubling the fishing catch between 1982 and 1985. Moreover, the 1992 catch of 82,000 tons set a record-- for example, in 1987 the catch was 56,900 tons.
Progress has also been made as a result of fisheries development projects undertaken by the World Bank. Harbor and refrigeration facilities have been improved, leading to a fourfold increase in earnings from canned fish between 1983 and 1985. Further construction of fisheries refrigeration installations and related facilities such as collector vessels were underway in 1994, with funding both from Japan and the World Bank.
|Country Studies main page | Maldives Country Studies main page|