The Maldives Tuna Fishery: An Example of Best Practice
The purpose of this article is to consider the development and management of the Maldivian tuna fishery against the backdrop of the development of the global tuna fishing industry. The Maldives tuna fishery is of particular interest as an example of an industry that has evolved from small-scale fishery (SSF) beginnings some half a century ago into a commercial enterprise employing modern technology in terms of boats and gear, as well as contemporary approaches to trading in the global marketplace for tuna products. It is also notable for the predominant use of pole and line gear technology that produces a high quality of catch with minimal environmental impact, and for the retention of key aspects of SSF characteristics in the gender-based division of labor, in which men go to sea and women play a key role in the shore industry.
The discussion that follows begins with an overview of the development of the world’s tuna fisheries with particular reference to the Western Indian Ocean in which the Maldives are situated. This is followed by an outline of the methodology employed in the present study. The development of fisheries in the Maldives is then considered, followed by a detailed discussion of the respective roles of fishermen and the fishing communities, including the roles of women. There follows a section dealing respectively with ecosystem impacts and related fisheries management measures. Finally, there is a section on development, management and governance, including considerations of the fishermen, women and fishing community, the structure of management and governance, and current issues.