The third Concertation Meeting between the European Union (EU) Fishing Industry and the Indian Ocean Tuna Processing Industry and, with focus on the tuna and fishing industry, opened this morning at the Intercontinental Resort in Balaclava.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Seetanah Lutchmeenaraidoo, the Ambassador and Head of Delegation of the EU to Mauritius, Mrs Marjaana Sall, and other personalities were present.
The meeting is being co-chaired by Mauritius and the Maritime Affairs and Fisheries of the European Commission. Representatives of the EU fishing fleets as well as representatives of the fisheries sector of Madagascar and Seychelles are participating in the meeting.
Two sessions are on the agenda: the first one is devoted to technical discussions between representatives of the EU fishing industry and the Indian Ocean Tuna processing industry; and the second session is dwelling on wider fisheries-related issues.
In his address, Minister Lutchmeenaraidoo emphasised that this third meeting will provide a platform for a structured dialogue on the management of fisheries resources in the Indian Ocean region and Indian Ocean Tuna Commission matters.
The Minister indicated that it is necessary to make sustainable use of marine resources while simultaneously respecting the ecosystem. Moreover, he expressed gratitude to the EU for their concerted efforts in protecting the ocean.
With regard to the Post-2020 Cotonou Agreement, Mr Lutchmeenaraidoo stated that Mauritius has evolved as a key player, being a member of the steering committee of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States. He spoke of the strong partnership between Mauritius and the EU on the issue of tuna supply and fishing activities in the region.
For her part, the Head of Delegation of the EU to Mauritius, Ambassador Sall, pointed out that the meeting marks a key milestone in Mauritius-EU bilateral and regional cooperation. The EU, she said, has developed a range of partnership agreements, including Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements, which provide technical support to tackle illegal fishing and to improve marine and coastal management in line with ensuring the growth of a sustainable blue economy.
The Ambassador emphasised that the position of Seychelles and Mauritius, respectively ranked second and third exporters to the EU market of canned tuna for year 2017, demonstrates that small islands of the India Ocean can become big players in the world seafood sector. Madagascar has as well shown a vibrant seafood sectoral growth by exporting shrimp and tuna products over the recent years, she added.