A conference focusing on the theme Évolution de la pêche artisanale dans l'océan indien: contraintes, perspective et stratégies, organised in the context of World Fisheries Day 2018, opened this morning at the Trevessa House, Seafarers Centre in Mer Rouge. The Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, and other personalities were present.
The three-day event, an initiative of the Féderation des Pêcheurs Artisans de l'Océan Indien (FPAOI), aim at valorising the profession of fishermen and develop synergies with islands in the Indian Ocean. It also endeavours at enhancing collaborative works as well as cultural exchanges among the islands in the Indian Ocean. Some 50 delegates from Madagascar, Seychelles, Comoros, Reunion, Rodrigues, including local representatives are attending the event.
In his address, Mr Koonjoo underlined that World Fisheries Day serves as an important reminder on the need to change the way global fisheries is managed as well as to maintain stocks and healthy aquatic ecosystems.
Government, the Minister highlighted, is putting in place several measures to facilitate the lives of fishermen and transform their fish catch into value-added fish product. These are namely: grant for the purchase of semi-industrial boats costing up to Rs 4 million; 60% grant (maximum Rs 60 000) for the purchase of boats engines and fishing nets; grant to a maximum Rs 200 000 to registered fishermen for the purchase of boats; fiscal exemption up to eight years on productivity; Octopus Fisheries Closure exercise; and training.
Moreover, Mr Koonjoo spoke about the need to sensitise the youth on the important contribution of the fishermen community in the advancement of the Mauritian economy, and, encourage young people to join the fishing industry thus help in making this sector one of the main pillars of the economy.
Speaking about the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers (WFF), the Minister recalled that the WFF, an international network of small-scale fishing and fishing workers' organisations, was set up in 1997 to establish and uphold basic human rights, social justice and culture of small-scale fishermen and workers. The WFF, he emphasized, influences policies and ensures the effective participation of small-scale fishermen in decision-making processes and at the same time respects their rights and gives them due recognizance for their sacrifice and hard work.