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Published on Sunday, April 25, 2021

PADI gets Maldives pledge to continue protecting sharks

Responding to speculation that the Maldivian government could lift a ban on shark fishing, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) and the wider diving community sought reassurances from the government.

Following discussions with PADI staff, Maldivian Ministry of Fisheries, Marine Resources, and Agriculture Zaha Waheed, said it has no intentions of lifting the current ban on shark fishing.

She affirmed that they remain committed to sustainable and responsible management of fisheries and marine resources in the Maldives.

The Ministry followed it up with a statement last week, saying it 'does not intend to permit a targeted shark fishery in the Maldives.'

"Sharks are a dominant force in dive tourism in the Maldives. We congratulate the Maldives's commitment to their ongoing protection," said Drew Richardson, President and CEO of PADI Worldwide.

The Maldives established a shark sanctuary in 2010 which covers 916,000 km2.

Tourism is a major contributor to Maldives' GDP with diving and snorkeling being the most popular tourism activity.

Consumer research indicates that any re-opening of a Maldives shark fishery could potentially decrease dive tourism demand by over 50%, which could result in a loss of US$24 million.

Sharks are some of the most endangered species in the ocean, with over a third of shark and ray species facing an increased threat of extinction, primarily due to overfishing. 

There are an estimated 600,000 shark watchers globally spending $314 million per year and directly supporting 10,000 jobs.

PADI will continue to advocate for the protection of sharks.

The Project AWARE Guide to Best Practices outlines measures for responsible shark tourism.


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