In the spotlight

Newsletter: Tune a Tuna

Editorial by the Ambassador of Maldives in Brussels, H.E. Mr Hassan Sobir

I am very pleased to launch the Embassy’s first issue of the “Tune a Tuna”. The purpose of the newsletter is to keep you updated on the latest news from Maldives. In this issue, we have mainly focused on our growing partnership with the European Union.




The EU has been a close partner to the Maldives in its development journey. Particularly in the last two years, the Maldives-EU relations have grown from strength to strength, with increased high-level exchanges and cooperation initiatives, ranging from security and counterterrorism cooperation and expanding to climate change and environmental degradation.

In recent years, we have focused our efforts on promoting the cooperation in the fisheries sector and the extending of trade and investment opportunities. The fishing industry in the Maldives is the nation’s second-biggest industry next to tourism, employing half of the country’s workforce and providing a livelihood for much of the population in the islands’ communities. 

The pole and line method used to catch tuna by Maldivian fishermen is both environmentally and socially sustainable, enabling the island communities to live well within the limits of nature. In fact, pole and line fishing is widely regarded as the most effective, low-impact fishing method to catch tuna, ensuring virtually zero by-catch and no discards compared to many other tuna fisheries worldwide. However, the 24% tariff presently levied for fish exports has proved a major challenge and a huge factor in making the Maldives less competitive in the EU market. Thus, the potential social benefits of the sector for the poor are largely being lost.

The economic and environmental vulnerability of Maldives renders it a unique case in the international trade system. Therefore, our efforts are mainly focused on securing a level playing field for Maldives fisheries exports and a sustainable income for the most vulnerable of the Maldivian fishermen.

With the aim to play a proactive role in stimulating economic activity as well as building back a more resilient economy after the Covid-19 crisis, we will give emphasis on promoting tourism, facilitating trade, and attracting investment opportunities.

Hassan Sobir