Fisheries - Policy Documents
The 5-year Fishery Development Plan
1.1 Fisheries is an important sector at the socio-economic level. It accounts for about 1% of the GDP and employs some eleven thousand people. Local fish production amounts to 1 billion rupees. This Ministry generates revenue in terms of foreign license fees, import permit license fees and sale of produce to the tune of Rs. 43 million. However, fisheries have inter-linkages with other sectors of the economy and such contributions to the GDP are reflected either in the manufacturing or in the service sector.
1.2 In 1998 a Ten Year Fisheries Development Plan was formulated. The overriding conclusion reached was that limited potential exists for further development of marine capture fisheries in Mauritius except for the offshore highly migratory pelagic species such as tuna and swordfish and that emphasis should be placed on:
(i) Sustainable use of existing resources and protection of the marine environment;
(ii) Maximising returns from existing fisheries through value addition;
(iii) Limited and cautious development of under-utilised resources and diversification into
aquaculture, where feasible; and
(iv) Training, capacity building and institutional reforms.
1.3 In the next 5 years the ministry will pursue the basic policy and objectives of sustainable development with the emphasis as outlined above and taking into consideration the manifesto of Government and the President’s Speech. In the same vein the ministry will spare no efforts in maintaining existing acquis in the post Cotonou negotiations through the development of a Fisheries Partnership Agreement with the European Union (EU).
2. Strategies to be adopted in the next 5 years
The programmes for the next five years will be undertaken with emphasis along the following lines:
2.1 Sea Food Hub Development
To-date a One Stop Shop service is in place at the Trade and Marketing Centre (TMC) in the free port area to facilitate the administrative procedures for loading/unloading/export of fish and fish products.
The Ministry of Fisheries along with other ministries/institutions and the Private Sector are working on other long term strategies, namely, the creation of an electronic platform for the delivery of clearances, promotional and marketing aspects, financing and fiscal incentives, flagging and licensing policy and surveillance of the EEZ.
The strategy of the Seafood Hub, being focused on the development of value added fisheries and seafood related sectors including fishing, transshipment, storage and warehousing, light processing (sorting, grading, cleaning, filleting and loinning), canning, ancillary services (ship chandlling, bunkering, vessel husbandry, ship agency, ship building and repair), will be actively pursued in the next five years to attract more investors and to create additional employment in that sector.
A seafood conference/workshop will be organized in Mauritius in March 2006 with a view to attracting a broad band of operators in that sector from various parts of the world. The Mauritian participation to the European Seafood Exhibition will be repeated for the next exhibition to be held as from the 9th to 11th May 2006 in Brussels.
A feasibility study will be carried out by April 2006 for the development of a longline fishery for Mauritius. This project would have direct bearings on the seafood hub with multiplier effects on the national economy. The study on the health certification capacity of Mauritius funded by the EU will be completed. A study on cost competitiveness of the Seafood Hub will be carried out.
The Mauritius Freeport Development will construct a fishing quay of 2,300 m2, which is considered as a prerequisite to position this company as a world-class and integrated logistics platform for the seafood industry. The construction of a fishing port for the semi-industrial fishery will be envisaged.
2.2 Fisheries Research, Development and Management
The Albion Fisheries Research Centre will besides implementing projects/programmes in fisheries research will also be called upon to give the necessary support for implementation of Government policies in fisheries development and management.
The Albion Fisheries Research Centre will amongst others continue to monitor the marine environment and the resources therein for its protection and conservation, screening of EIA’s, mangrove propagation, monitoring of water quality, coral reefs and marine parks, carry out stock assessment studies, fish toxicity studies, monitoring of tuna fisheries and support for aquaculture development.
The ministry jointly with FAO is implementing a study on the Stock Assessment and Fishery Management of the St. Brandon Plateau and associated Banks. Surveys will be carried out on the slopes of the banks to investigate fish resources and the potential for their exploitation. A Management Plan for the Banks fisheries will be elaborated.
The construction of Marine Park Centres at Blue-Bay and Balaclava, and the zoning of the Balaclava Marine Park will be carried out.
In line with the policy of government to sensitise the public in general more particularly school children on the need for the protection and conservation of the marine environment for future generations the ministry will grant free access to marine parks for students and senior citizens. Regulations would be amended to waive the Rs. 100 entrance fee.
A fish handling and marketing specialist conducted a survey in November 2005 on existing method of fish handling and marketing in the banks fisheries and would submit a paper on means of increasing the value of the catch for better fish handling, improving processing techniques and new marketing options.
Likewise a study on fish handling, preservation and marketing will be undertaken in Mauritius and Rodrigues under the Rural Diversification Programme (RDP) of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in order to advise on improving fish handling in the artisanal fisheries.
In order to have a better control of the activities of fishing vessels licensed to fish in our EEZ, a Vessel Monitoring System (VMS) has been set up in Mauritius and is operational. The ministry has recently negotiated a protocol for the satellite monitoring of EU vessels fishing in our EEZ. Control of fishing vessels in our EEZ will be further consolidated in the next five years and the ministry will be in a better position to deter illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing.
A mentoring programme for artisanal fishers will be implemented. The thrust of this programme will be centered on coaching fishers with a view to making them successful entrepreneurs. This project will target small scale fishers where counseling in respect of management of small scale businesses and the necessity in improving repayment on loans would be dispensed in creole. Mentors with extensive experience relevant to the sector would be solicited for the accompaniment of fishers from project concept to post project implementation.
Government will give the necessary incentives for the procurement of fishing vessels for fishing in the off lagoon areas. In the same line the development of a ship-building industry aimed at coastal and low tonnage high sea fishing and that of fishing equipment for the local and regional market will be encouraged.
In order to better manage the marine resources in the waters of Mauritius and regulating fish trade, new regulations will be made and promulgated with regards to conservation measures, licence fees and conditions, imports of fish and fish products, safety and security for fishermen, sports and recreational fishing and fishmongers.
2.3 Aquaculture development
The production of camaron and berri rouge fingerlings will be continued to cater for small scale fish operators. The ministry will lease some ponds at La Ferme Fish farm to small scale entrepreneurs for the production of camaron and berri rouge.
A feasibility study will be carried out in view of promotion of the small scale aquaculture for red drum in floating net cages for artisanal fishers in appropriate areas. In the same breath potential cage culture sites around Mauritius will be identified. Introduction of new species for aquaculture development, namely barramundi fish, from Australia for farming will be envisaged.
Barachois which are presently uncommitted and not in productive use will be brought to economic and sustainable use for the development of integrated development projects, combining fish farming, public leisure and eco-tourism projects.
The development of an Aquaculture Master Plan is being worked out.
2.4 Training and Capacity building.
The Fisheries Training and Extension Centre at Pointe aux Sables will dispense training courses to fishers based on new technologies in order to equip themselves with the required know-how and techniques to operate safely in the outer-reef areas and oceanic waters giving due consideration to the protection and conservation of the marine environment and the resources therein. Fishers will be enrolled for practical exposure in longline fishing techniques on board of fishing vessels. 1000 fishers will be trained in various courses at the FiTEC.
The Fisheries Protection Service will not only be reorganized but will also be reinforced. In this respect the ministry will give the necessary facilities to improve the physical presence of the fisheries protection officers in the coastal zone around Mauritius with a view to combating illegal fishing.
Upgrading of skills in fisheries research, development and management will be given due attention.
2.5 Infrastructure Development
During the next five years the ministry will continue with the upgrading and construction of infrastructural facilities (fish landing stations, slipways, jetties, opening of boat passages) with all basic amenities to facilitate the activities of fishers. New fisheries posts will be constructed where required and others upgraded. Fish Markets will be constructed at specific location of the country to serves the need of fishers.
2.6 Establishment of a Fishermen Investment Trust
A Fishermen Investment Trust will be set up to enable fishers to participate in fishing around St Brandon and other banks. This would go along the philosophy of democratising access to the fishery resources of Mauritius.
The Fishermen Investment Trust would target artisanal fishers and bank fishers to promote development and diversification of fishing operations around St. Brandon and other banks. It will assist in the expansion of existing small scale fishing operators in areas where they were previously not having access to. This would maintain levels of employment and in the long term sustain the economic activities of our coastal fishers and communities.
2.7 Fisheries Education Programme
Consultations will be held the University of Mauritius, University of Technology, MIE and other institutions of Mauritius for the introduction of modules on marine resources as part of their ongoing programmes.
2.8 Security and Welfare of Fishers
Cellular phones will be made available to each owner of a boat involved in the Fish Aggregating Device (FAD’s) fishery. This scheme will be extended to other fishers owners of boats so as to improve security of fishers, through improved communications.
The Fishermen Welfare Fund promotes the welfare of fishermen and their families. With a view to further promote education within the fishermen community; the fund will increase the number of scholarships to children of fishers.
2.9 Regional Cooperation
Regional Cooperation in fisheries management and development and marine conservation is of utmost importance to small island states like Mauritius. In this context, the ministry will actively participate in the activities of the relevant Regional Fisheries Organisations such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC), the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, (CCAMLR), the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission (SWIOFC). It will also participate in the regional pilot project for Monitoring Control and Surveillance of large pelagic fishes in the Western Indian Ocean and the regional tuna tagging project. These will result in better collaboration amongst countries of the region for the control of IUU fishing and a better knowledge of the regional fish stocks leading to a more sustainable utilisation of the resources. Besides cooperation under the SADC, COMESA and Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Cooperation (IOR-ARC) will be continued.
2.10 Bilateral Cooperation
Cooperation with other countries or entities will be pursued actively through agreements or MOU on subjects of mutual interest. A MOU in the field of fisheries with Australia is envisaged. Similarly, a technical cooperation agreement with the South African Bureau of Standards with respect to inspection of fish and fish products will be signed.