Today we are talking with Samah, our fish exporter from Maldives to ask him a few questions about how Moalia operates abroad.
Usually, our days start in early evening, when the fishing boats calls us with the catch reports after whole day out in sea. Once we have the full catch reports from the fishermen, we talk to the factory staffs and plan the next day unloading, grading, processioning and packing the fish. Then we call the airline and book the flights, but remember, all this depends on the arrival time of fishing boats to the factory.
First, our boats go out to catch bait, usually near lagoons or reefs, sometimes they do it at night with huge lights which attract fish. Though it is rare, sometimes it is pretty hard to find the exact kind of baits for yellow fin tuna fish.
The way Maldivian catch fish is not as industrial as it is in other countries. We only use fishing nets to catch bait fish, they are never used in the deep sea. Every tuna is caught one by one, with pole and line fishing. The Maldivian method does not catch fish in huge quantities (the average catch of a single fishing vessels is 2tons to 3.5 tons). The problem with fishing nets is that they are used for scooping out the whole school in one go, including small fish which are not grown enough for consumption. All these negative effects are avoided with the Maldivian pole and line fishing.
They know what they are doing, and have always, always known this fish business. With them, everything can happen.
Yes, i have been living in Maldives, in the capital city, since I was born 1980. My grandfather was a skip jack fisherman, and my father was an expert in reef fish. My father moved from island to the capital (around 1960), met my mother and settled in the city.
We started our business together around 2009, if I am not wrong, I used to work with my brother in law (Big FISH) at that time .
My fave tuna dish is called ‘’mashuni’ and we usually eat them with roshis. It is a popular breakfast in the Maldives.
Mashuni is simply shredded coconut with tuna and onions and eaten with roshis, which are like Indian rotis, except they're made with all purpose flour instead of wholewheat flour.
Ingredients for mashuni
125g of canned tuna (ideally smoked)
125g of grated coconut
A bunch of cilantro leaves
1 sliced onion
Juice from 2 limes (alternatively lemons)
Salt to taste
1 seeded and chopped red pepper
How to make Maldivian mashuni
Mix the chopped onions with the sliced chilli, the lime juice and salt.
Drain the tuna from the can and mix it in with the onion/chilli mixture.
Mix in the shredded coconut and serve with roshis.
My most fond memory with Moalia, is how Jeff and I met for the first time in Brussels.It was during the 2006 or 2007 Brussels Seafood Expo, and I attended on behalf of BigFish. It was a busy day in our stall, and I came out to the smoking area for a break with a friend (Mr. Ibrahim Sodhooq - Cyprea). There is where I met Jeff. At that time I did not know who he was, but we had already introduced ourselves and had a fun discussion (we talked about everything, but not fish!) Later in evening I saw Jeff visiting our stall, and then we re-introduced ourselves but this time, as professionals. So we can say that we were friends before partners.