Trespassing foreign vessels to be fined USD6,500

Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture has revealed that a USD6,500 fine will be imposed on vessels that are caught trespassing Maldivian waters.

The recently published regulation on stopping foreign vessels from illegally fishing in the Maldives maritime boundary states that foreign vessels that enter Maldivian waters without seeking prior permission will be fined USD6,500. Meanwhile, vessels caught illegally fishing in the Maldives will be fined between USD130,000 to USD2.6 million based on their storage capacity, the amount of fish caught, and the equipment and resources used for fishing.

Additionally, the fisheries ministry is required to establish an oversight committee within 60 days of the regulation’s publication. The committee will be tasked with submitting intelligence on trespassing foreign fishing vessels to the relevant institutions. Foreign fishing vessels are required to obtain permission from the fisheries ministry prior to entering the Maldives maritime boundary. The application forms are available at the ministry’s website.

The regulation also dictates that foreign fishing vessels in the Maldives maritime boundary are required to have their vessel tracker device on, limit their speed, and refrain from making stops. The vessels are also banned from conducting any fishing-related activities.

The fisheries ministry will issue the appropriate fine to the owner, operator, or master of any foreign fishing vessel that violate the regulation. They are required to pay the fine within 30 days of receiving the notice. If the owner does not pay the fine, the ministry is required to request the court to issue an order to pay the fine and receive permission to confiscate the vessel and its equipment and goods.