The fishermen's days festival in the Maldives is being held this week, a three-day festival to celebrate the country’s fishermen who catch the country's tuna bounty using pole and line fishing.
To celebrate one of the few truly local sustainable fisheries in the world and the men and women behind it, Greenpeace is sharing the stories of Ali Saeed, a fisherman we met in the Maldives last month. The story here makes it clear why the Maldives is at the top when it comes to sustainable and equitable fisheries.
Our newest ship the Rainbow Warrior, spent a few days in the Maldives in November as Greenpeace staff documented the pole and line fishery, visited fishing communities and networked with decision makers there. We also conducted joint surveillance operations with Maldives enforcement officials in the country's waters, where no foreign fishing activities are licensed but illegal fishing activities still take place.
The fishery in which Saeed works is one of the most sustainable in the world and last month received its MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification.
Greenpeace advocates for the development of sustainable and equitable pole and line fisheries where bait fish and other local conditions are suitable for fishing. We believe that where possible, this selective fishing method should replace large scale and more destructive fishing operations.
Elsewhere, we support purse seine fishing without the use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and other sustainable fishing techniques, while also advocating for a reduction in the numbers of industrial purse seiners fishing for tuna.
One of the most important parts of our work is to connect consumers like you to the people behind that can of tuna. We’ve shown you photos and videos of the ocean destruction inherent in wasteful tuna fisheries, our stories of confronting huge ships and the political inaction that often perpetuates overfishing.
Saeed’s story here, however, is one of success – economically and ecologically. We hope you enjoy meeting the people behind the sustainably-caught Maldives tuna and hope it encourages you to ask your tuna brand to source from operations like Saeed’s.
We also hope other Indian Ocean nations join the Maldives in building more responsible tuna fisheries – a hope that pressure on your tuna brands can make a reality.
Happy Fishermen's Day, Maldives!
Sari Tolvanen is an oceans campaigner based in Greenpeace International’s Amsterdam office