An insight into the Maldives livebait and tuna fishery
Tuna has been caught in the Maldives for more than 700 years. Pole-and-line has been the most popular fishing method among the Maldivian tuna fishers for centuries. In the past, fishers have exploited several species of tuna using pole-and-line in the coastal water of the Maldives. Then fishers used small wooden vessels that heavily depended on the wind. Today the tuna fishery in the Maldives is one of the largest pole-and-line fisheries in world and it has continued to thrive as a very successful fishery. The transformation of the pole-and-line tuna fishery in the Maldives began in the early 1970s with the mechanization of the fishing vessels and introduction of anchored fish aggregating devices (aFADs) in the early 1980s. Overtime the pole-and-line tuna fishery has evolved. Changes that took place since the mechanization began have affected the behaviour of the fishers and the vessel used for fishing. Today the tuna fishery has changed from the single day fishery to a multi-day fishery; from small wooden vessels that support only 6 anglers to large fiberglass vessels that has 15 anglers and from a single gear fishery to a multi-gear fishery that targets both tuna and reef fish.
This talk focuses on the tuna fishery in the Maldives with particular emphasis on harvesting of livebait, development in the fishery, fishing methods and gear, fishing vessels and finally changes in the behaviour of the fishers themselves. Research conducted related to the fishery and possible research opportunities/areas in the tuna fishery are also addressed.