Pole and line fishermen in the Maldives haul tuna from the waters just 10-20 miles beyond the coral reef edge. The fishery is home to locally-owned, smaller-sized boats. A 'dhoni' fishing boat of 100-feet costs about US$320,000 and employs 20 to 35 people and a catch of about 1.5 to 2 tonnes per day covers the cost of the trip. The return on investment takes about 1.5 to 2 years.
Beyond the Maldives, large-scale industrial fleets are dominating the global market, leading to overfishing. They provide little opportunity for employment and revenue flows to large companies, not coastal communities. Most purse seiners operating in the Pacific catch an average of more than 30 tonnes of tuna per day. A new vessel costs more than US$12 million and would have operating costs of over $2 million a year, but gives employment to just 30 crew.