Maldives imposes historic ban on shark fishing

Posted on March 5, 2009
Written by: Shark Savers
Tags: Shark Sanctuaries Campaign 

The Republic of the Maldives has announced that it will halt shark fishing in its waters, making the Maldives a 'shark haven'. We think this ban is very significant and, to our knowledge, is the first time a country has completely banned shark fishing in its territorial waters.

We congratulate Minister of Fisheries and Agriculture, Dr. Ibrahim Didi, the new President of the Maldive, and our partners of the Baa Atoll Project for making this happen. The government member of the Baa Atoll Project explains the gist of the new ban in this email that Sascha received today:

Dear Sascha, 

We have a good news from Maldives. 

Government of Maldives banned reef shark fishing within 12 miles from rim of all the Atolls in Maldives from 1 March 2009 and moving toward total export ban after a grace period of one year for all species of shark. We Hope  this will help to improve the shark population within Maldives and will contribute in a global scale. Government of Maldives is looking for funding to compensate shark fishermen to ensure sustainable livelihood for them. 

I hope this a good news to you and entire Shark Savers team. 


Abdulla Mohamed Didi
Project Manager, Baa Atoll
Atoll Ecosystem Conservation Project
Ministry of Housing, Transport and Enviroment

We also received the press release put out by the office of the President, which you can download here:

Maldives imposes shark hunting ban 05/03/2009,08:14 114.77 Kb.

This is a great event that we hope will return the Maldives to its previous status as an important home for sharks. This move is a great day for the sharks, but is also in recognition that sharks are more important alive than dead. Alive, sharks are important to overall health of the reef ecosystem and bring in tourist dollars year afer year. In contrast, overfishing of sharks quickly results in a collapse of the shark population and often the collapse of other species populations because of the imbalance created. This is a very smart move for the Maldives.

We are proud to be associated with the Baa Atoll Project and look forward to supporting our colleagues as they move onto the next stage: ensuring that this ban is implemented and enforced effectively.