Introduction

Fishermen’s Association of the Maldives is trying to establish fishermen’s community centersat selected fishing communities. With great assistance of local and foreign funding agencies and commercial companies FAM has established its first such community centre at L. Gan on this year’s labor day the, 1st of May 2013. Laamu Atoll and the nearby region being a good fishing area,we believe that this would help the fishing community in the region in many ways and help them enhance their fisheries related activities. The association is planning to expand the establishment of Fishermen Community Centre’s (FCC’s) at various fishing island communities of the Maldives.

Services established in the LaamuGan, Fisheries Community Centre.

The FCC established in LaamuGan is equipped with communication systems. The fishermen’s at sea can always communicate to the FCC and can keep in touch with the island community. Also the families of the fishermen can be easily accessed to this facility so they can communicate emergency messages to their family member out at sea.

FCC also provides information about good bait fishery grounds and good fishing areas via SMS to the fishermen’s mobile phones. This information assists them to easily identify the fishing areas and helps them to reduce the time and effort they spent for fishing every day. Also it helps the fishermen’s to cut down their cost of fishing trip by reducing the price paid for fuel as this information will help them reduce the travelling they have to do in search of fish schools.

In addition to this FAM will be providing technical and vocational short term trainings to fisher forks in the community through FCC. The training areas will cover safety at sea, navigation, marine electrical engineering, boat building and other technology related areas. The trainings will be provided with local and foreign technical experts. The FCC is equipped with a fully functional training room.

The main objectives of the FCC’s are:

  1. Provide Better communication between fishers, buyers and other stake holders:

FCC’s will enable fishermen to communicate home port and other vessels by providing round-the-clock communicating services. In order to facilitate the communication service, communication equipment may either be provide on loan/rental or bought on installment basis.

 

  1. Assist fishers to locate the fishing grounds more accurately and efficiently through technologies:

FCC’s will help fishers to efficiently locate good fishing grounds using modern technology. The Centre’s will subscribe commercial services that provide information on potential fishery zones, such as Sea Star[1], These will be efficiently communicated to fishery through the communication system.

 

  1. Create awareness and provide practical hands-on training:

FCC’s will create awareness on fishery issues and provide general knowledge and hands-on practical training on different fields such as biological oceanography, fishery biology, quality control and quality maintenance of the catch on board the vessels, engine repair and maintenance. These will be provided in a class-room setting with feedback, group discussions and practical hands on training through experts.

 

  1. Assist fisher folks to increase their family connections:

FCC’s will function as a contact point to fishermen’s families while they are at seas. It is common these days fishermen spent weeks at a time fishing trips. If they are away from the shore, reach of GPRS range, the family either visit to the Centre to talk to them over the radio of messages can be passed to their families.

 

  1. Help fishers to be more social:

To achieve this the FCC’s will provide recreational services to the fishermen. Fishermen can watch TV, listen to news,

and playdifferent recreational board games such as carom and chess at times when they are at the Centre’s. The Centre’s can also act as meeting place for the fishermen to discuss their common issues.

 

  1. Easy access to fishing gears and other important equipments used in the fishing operation:

FCC’s will establish a small retail shop of fishing gears, communication equipment and spare parts for the marine engines and other equipment used in the fishing operation. The shop will be owned by the FCC’s and the profit earned through the shop will be divided among the members of the cooperative.