Social and Economic Screening of Thinadhoo Island Fishing Community – Field Study Report

Date: August 2011


  • Fareeha Shareef
  • Hamid Sodique
  • Abdulla Waheed


This report presents findings of the social and economic screening of the fishing community of the Island of Thinadhoo of South Huvadhoo Atoll of the Maldives. The findings reflect the discussions held with the island community including fishermen, vessel owners, fish processers and service provides, and island administrators during the field visit to Thinadhoo in July 2011.

In Thinadhoo, similar to the rest of the country, fishing is carried out by using pole and line or line which is a sustainable method of fishing with no by-catch. Basic infrastructure and facilities for fishing activities such as a jetty, ice plant, water kiosk and fuel is established in Thinadhoo.

Fishing vessels are locally built using timbre or fiberglass and are mechanized. Vessel sizes vary between 60 to 120 feet. The vessels are fitted with iceboxes for fish storage and sleeping compartments for the crew, which enables them to be on the sea for two to three days at a time if necessary.

The two main types of tuna caught in Maldives are skipjack tuna and yellow fin tuna, with skipjack accounting for roughly 60% of total annual fish catch. While the skipjack tuna is caught using pole-and-line method, yellow fin tuna may be caught using either pole-and-line or line fishing.

At the end of the fishing trip, the catch is usually sold to collector vessels stationed near the island of Thinadhoo. As the collector vessels buy fishes of certain type, quality and size, fish which are not acceptable to the collector vessels may be sold to artisanal fish processors, tourist resorts or local households. The number of artisanal fish processors has dramatically decreased during the last four years as the price of fish soared due to the dry spell and hiking fuel prices.

A fair-trade certification program would be of benefit to the country. The fish caught in Maldives has potential to fetch a high price in the international market as it employs a sustainable and environment friendly method of fishing. The Ministry of Fisheries and Agriculture implements a traceability and certification program for the fishing industry, which could be used as a starting point for adopting the fair-trade certification program.