|Abstract: ||The development project of Fish World Maldives Pvt Ltd is a fish processing and
packing facility. Located in the west central of Maldives in Maalhos, Alifu Alifu
Atoll, the proposal is to process, pack and produce variety fish products targeting
local markets, including fresh fish requirements of tourist resorts. Essentially the
project is conceived on the observation that the amount of resources allocated by the
resorts on sourcing fresh fish to feed their guests and staff is not worthwhile their
effort. The quality of the fish is poor and wastage is substantial. Simply because
fishing is a different enterprise far from their core tourism business; they would rather
have this activity outsourced to professionals.
2. Observations by the proponent have shown that requirements of fresh fish on a resort
are substantial. For instance, for a resort with 700 staff (not uncommon in high-end 7+
start resorts in the Maldives) would require about 150 − 200 kg fresh fish per night.
This result is not surprising since a survey in 2006 have shown that reef fish
consumption in resorts stands around 1.29 kg per tourist night.
3. The proponent’s requests to authorities on recognition of the facility on par with
facilities producing for export to EU-territories have met with confusion. The current
regulation requirement of Maldives Food and Drug Authority (MFDA) and Ministry
of Fisheries and Agriculture requirements on issuing ‘Certificate of (EU) Compliance’
and ‘License for Producing Fish and Fishery Products’ (for export) respectively is
only for fish processing facilities targeting only for export. MFDA regulation requires
the HACCP plan and factory floor layout is pre-approved before construction begins.
Approaching Island Council on the issue decided that outlet falls under the category
of facilities selling food and food products and therefore have issued ‘Operating
License for Food Establishments’ during August 2013. Fortunately MFDA has now
approved the layout for the ice-plant and factory floor layout.
4. The location proponent has chosen to build the facility is the area on the west of the
Maalhos harbour. The area was reclaimed of dredged material excavated from the
harbour basin some years ago. The Island Council have drawn up a land use plan for
commercial leasing. Plots of 1,200 sq feet have been marked and 14 such plots have
been identified in the area. Of these 4 plots on the western most sections have been
leased to the Fish World Maldives Pvt Ltd. In addition they have acquired a large
warehouse just three blocks south of their facility in the same area.
5. The proponent is proposing to produce a variety of products; fresh gill and gutted,
fresh head and gutted, fresh loins and fillets targeted for resorts. There are also future
plans to produce smoked and dried fish for sale in retail outlets on Malé. In addition
the proponent plans to have a fishmeal plant with a capacity of 10-15 MT / day which
will essentially leave nothing to throw away from the processing activities. The fish
meal is intended for sale as component for producing poultry feed or as making
6. The Island Council is not able to provide the utility services and so production of
water and electricity will take place on site. Initially the plan it to produce 10 MT of
fresh water a day supplemented by rainwater harvests. Source water extraction for RO
plant is from a bore-hole drilled on site. The borehole will be done by professional
and following the guidelines provided by EPA. The depth of the borehole is around
25-30 m well below the fresh water lens in the area. Water will be stored at site on
large plastic tanks. Two sound proof gensets of 125kVA each is installed. Maldives
Energy Authority’s Regulation will be followed including registration of the power
7. Ice will be produced at site for sale and distribution to the fishermen along with the
ice-boxes. The plan is to educate fishermen on post-harvest handline and improving
quality similar to the approach adopted in the successful large yellowfin handline
fishery. There are also plans to have reefer vessels with ice to collect fish from atolls
away from the central Maldives. For smoked and dried fish processing requirements
steaming, smoking and drying chambers are fitted. The former is being ordered off
the shelf, but the latter two is being custom-fabricated locally.
8. The purchase of fish will entirely be from local fishermen. Fortunately the area is
popular for reef fishing; islands of Maalhos, Himendhoo, Mathiveri, Bodufulahodoo
and Ukulhas are all popular reef fishing islands. Maalhos Island is strategically
located in the atoll, the channel in the north and south (Maalhohu uthuru Kandu and
Himendhoo Kandu) are popular crossing by the fishermen into the ocean and from the
ocean side. In this sense the facility is well placed for the fishermen on their route to
home ports after fishing. The area used to be popular for shark fishing and many are
looking for additional work and so the news of establishing the processing factory is
welcomed by the fishermen.
9. Waste from the facility will be minimal. Fish waste (from cutting and cleaning) will
be used to produce fish meal. Blood water from the factory floor, grey water from
toilets and brine (reject water from RO plant) will be collected in a tank underground
and pumped into the western side outside the reef. Release of sewage will be minimal
as there are no accommodation facilities on factory block. Lube oil and waste oil will
be collected in plastic container and disposed appropriately. Any solid waste other
than fish cutting will be disposed at the island waste processing facility.
10. Impact prediction exercise was undertaken in qualitative manner or a pre-defined
generic template that included all the possible areas of impact from a related
development projects. For the impacts that were positive or negative, scores of impact
significance were assigned (negligible, moderate, major, beneficial, none). Only few
negative environmental impacts were identified. These include moderate negative
impacts from odour, potential over-exploitation of fisheries resources in the event of
poor or lack of fisheries management from the authorities, potential damage to
vegetation from collecting wood (if the plan for processed products starts), burning of
significant amount fossil fuel for production of water and electricity and increased
transport traffic and potential oil and other forms of pollution of the Maalhos harbour.
All were found to be reversible impacts and appropriate mitigation measures are
proposed for each.
11. Significant positive impacts were potential to create additional jobs and sustaining
livelihoods of fishermen badly needed following the complete ban of shark fishing,
better utilization of fish waste and improved opportunities for resources management
by the authorities through monitoring control and surveillance and the large positive
socioeconomics impact to Maalhos island creating multiplier effects for improving
and expanding economic base of the island community.
12. The unique, innovative and a special aspect of the project is its link with the tourism.
The project creates market space (for fishermen) and improved efficiency and health
and safety of fishery products. Most importantly it adds value to the catch supporting
government’s over-arching objective of sustainable utilization of the fishery
13. The island council members are in agreement with this development project and they
are happy to endorse the work of the Fish World Maldives Pvt Ltd. An environmental
monitoring programme involving monitoring the water quality of the harbour area is