Saajin

About Me

My story

I am an enthusiastic fisherman, photographer and advocate for sustainable fishing practices around the world.

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I chose to challenge the expected norms of today’s society by pursing a traditional career that requires skills and a more sustainable way of life that is driven from Maldivian ancestral roots and enriched Maldivian lives for years.

My greatest ambition and life goal has been spreading awareness about the fishing industry, advocating the challenges faced by the fishermen community of Maldives and encouraging younger generations to enter the field proud to be a fisherman.

I started going on fishing trips when I was 16years old. My whole family is a traditional fishing family, starting from my grandfather, father and several other members of my family. I remember after my first week out on a fishing trip, I earned 700 MVR and some of the others earned up to 15,000 MVR. This made me realize that if I work hard as a fisherman, I would be able to earn a good wage and make a good living.

I go out fishing with different fishermen from different atolls and islands from all over Maldives. This is because I want to promote the sustainable methods of fishing across the country and also to meet and share experiences with different age groups and fishermen all over the country. Catching one tuna at a time by a crew of individual fishers on a boat is about as sustainable as tuna fishing gets. It avoids the massive by-catch of sharks, turtles, and other sea creatures associated with many other tuna fisheries, and guarantees the fish are in immaculate condition for market, since they are immediately put on ice. The rules followed by all fishing vessels across the country is the same. After each trip, the profits are distributed among everyone. Hence, it is a challenge as well as a pleasure too.

We set off usually on a Friday evening around 10. We leave at this particular time because we need to catch bait for the pole. Once we reach the spot, near the reef where we will catch the bait, we anchor the dhoni and get the mercury lights and nets ready for bait catching and go to sleep. We wake up at dawn and start catching the bait. Once we have enough bait, which usually takes about one hour, we travel out to the deep ocean to catch the fish. Finding a school of tuna is now very easy with the use of latest technology.

Before the technology reached us, we had to use binoculars to find a school. There will be a team on the upper deck to look out for birds. But now we use the radar system. So, we wait until we find a school of fish on the radar system.

Sometimes we sleep or eat or just lazy around. Nowadays, during this waiting-period, I will take pictures for the sustainable fishing methods promotional campaign. Once we find a school of tuna, then the hard work begins. The chief (Keyolhu) will start blowing the horn, and the crew will wake up the people who were sleeping. The En Keyolun (people who throw the bait) will get ready for the signal to start throwing the bait once we reach the school of tuna. We have to be quick on our feet to catch as many fish as possible. Most of the times we catch skipjack tuna.

However, when I go out on boats from the north and the center of Maldives, then the catch is mostly yellowfin tuna.

Once we catch the tuna, we put it immediately in ice and start travelling to an area to sell it. Usually, we sell fish to MIFCO, the government’s company. They are always present near my atoll, and they maintain the price without fluctuation. Once the catch is sold, we start all over again.

I faced a lot of challenges when I first started out as a fisherman. I was young and not very used to the ways and culture implemented on the boat by the older and experienced fishermen. They were very strict as they too had a tough time when they started out back in the day without proper technology and weather warning systems in place. Another challenge I faced when I started out was the bullying and stigma associated with being a young fisherman. But now it has all changed. There are a lot of young and energetic fishermen out there. And the stigma associated with being a fisherman is now slowly fading. The young have outnumbered the old and slowly the traditional cultures on the boats have changed for the better. Because now with the use of technology and other means, the workload on the boat has changed as well.

I wanted to pass the message that fishing as a profession is very different from other jobs. You are out all day on the water and you feel freer and in tune with nature giving you a different kind of satisfaction. It’s a lot of hard manual labour but the satisfaction that you feel is more rewarding. And at the end of each day, you get the reward (the means to provide for my family). I would definitely encourage more young people to join this industry. If pole and line fishermen can be paid appropriately for their work and can secure a level playing field for exporting their high-quality and eco-friendly products, it might make other fishermen in the Indian Ocean and beyond to consider adopting more sustainable fishing methods.

I like the most basic Maldivian dishes. Fish soup, rice, fried fish, and chillies/ lemon on the side. The fish soup cooked with fresh tuna is the best!

My Team

2023 06 08 19.33.10

Mohamed Hayyaan

Editorial/Video Content Creator
Althaf

Mohamed Althaf Ali

Videographer & lead drone pilot

NEWS

Dear,

I trust this message finds you in good spirits. I am writing to extend an invitation that I believe may pique your interest. My name is Saajin, also known as the “Zuvaan Masveriyaa,” and I am currently undertaking a captivating expedition to explore the awe-inspiring islands of the Maldives. It would be a privilege to have your esteemed presence alongside me on this remarkable journey.

Our joint exploration promises an immersive experience, enabling us to acquaint ourselves with the mesmerizing culture, rich traditions, and warm hospitality of this breathtaking island paradise. Moreover, we will have the opportunity to delve into the intriguing history surrounding the world’s most sustainable fishing industry, an integral aspect of the Maldivian heritage.

I envision our collaboration as an endeavor to uncover the unique and eco-friendly fishing practices employed in the Maldives, unveiling the profound harmony that exists between the local communities and their natural surroundings. By partaking in this adventure together, we will not only deepen our understanding of the Maldivian way of life but also contribute to its preservation.

Kindly consider this invitation, and should you be interested in joining me on this thrilling voyage, I eagerly anticipate our shared experiences and the discoveries that await us. Please do not hesitate to communicate your decision, as I would be delighted to provide further details and assist with any arrangements necessary.

Thank you for your time and consideration. I eagerly await the possibility of embarking on this enlightening journey with you.

Warm regards,

Hassan Saajin

Zuvaan Masveriyaa

Follow me on Social Media to stay updated on my journey!

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