Fuvahmulah Mayor Faces Calls to Resign Over New Diving Fee

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PUBLISHED 23 July 2023

Divers in the southern city of Fuvahmulah staged a protest on Wednesday after the city council decided to implement a fee for diving on the atoll-island's diving spots.

The fee, which was set in June, has been met with widespread opposition from divers, who say it will deny them their most fundamental form of income.

"We are very concerned about this decision," said Mohamed Rasheed, president of the Fuvahmulah Diving Association. "We were not consulted about this at all, and we believe it will have a devastating impact on our business."

The fee is set at USD 200 per head for foreign vessels, USD 55 per head for safari vessels and diving school vessels from other islands, and USD 20 per head for Fuvahmulah diving schools.

Divers who fail to register and pay the fee could be fined between MVR 5,000 and MVR 8,000.

The city council has said that the fee is necessary to protect the environment and to ensure that divers are properly trained. However, divers say that the fee is excessive and that it will put them out of business.

"This is our livelihood," said Rasheed. "We cannot afford to pay this fee."

The city council has said that it is willing to discuss the fee with the divers, but it has not yet made any decision about whether to lower it