In the remote Indian Ocean atolls of the Maldives, the efforts of thousands of fishers to protect the marine environment with responsible fishing techniques go largely unrecognized and underappreciated by the local tourism industry. This project will develop an outreach and education programme that will engage the tourism and fishing sectors, to increase awareness of, and demand for, local sustainable seafood in order to bring returns directly back to the local fishing communities.
Globally, thousands of coastal communities rely on responsible fishing for their livelihoods. In the Maldives alone over 30,000 people work in fisheries to provide food and income for their families. By catching fish with traditional one-by-one methods (literally, catching one fish at a time), these fishers minimise the environmental impact on wild populations and the marine environment. Such efforts go largely unrecognised by the tourism industry and are unknown to visitors.
Training sessions will connect local communities and tourists in the Indian Ocean islands and provide education on the social and environmental benefits of responsible fisheries. By incentivising tourism businesses to source responsibly caught seafood from local communities, this initiative will increase economic returns to the fisheries, support community wellbeing and protect fragile coastal marine ecosystems.
By increasing global commitments to responsible seafood sourcing and awareness of sustainable choices, this project will enhance the demand for fish caught one at a time by small scale operators, securing the future for these communities. The initiative will facilitate a shift towards responsible fishing practises, reward small-scale operators, and will conserve the longevity of stocks and coastal marine resources, thereby protecting a critical food source for developing nation populations.