The Fisheries Protection Service proceeded yesterday at Mare Chicose Landfill with the annual disposal of seized prohibited articles related to illegal fishing activities. Most of the equipment were seized in the northern region of the country. The disposal exercise was carried out in presence of the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo.
In a statement to the press at the Fisheries Post in Mahebourg where the seized prohibited articles were stocked, Minister Koonjoo highlighted that eliminating illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing is at the core of Government's agenda to conserve and use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
The Minister highlighted that the seized prohibited articles included 10 100 metres of fishing net, 15 shotguns and 150 underwater equipment, valued at Rs 10.5 million. He added that there has been an increase of 3.3 % in the amount of seized items, which indicates that illicit fishing activities and the use of prohibited equipment are on the rise. According to him, this also reflects the relentless efforts of the 15 Fisheries Protection Service Posts and the five Flying Squads to help free the country's lagoon from unregulated fishing by ensuring efficient control, strict surveillance and enforcement of the provisions of the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act of 2007.
He underlined that illegal activities such as overfishing and catching juvenile species are directly affecting the marine ecosystem which is being depleted. The decline in the marine biodiversity has in turn significant ramifications on the economy and is a threat to food security, he added.
Minister Koonjoo also stressed on the fact that the country possesses a rich Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) which if sustainably exploited, can become a pillar of the economy. On that score, he emphasised that the vibrant marine ecosystem of our EEZ represents significant opportunities for maritime commerce and other economic activities which can propel Mauritius to become a key player in the region.