Policymakers and practitioners from the least developed countries (LDCs) and other developing countries are participating, from 6 to 11 May 2019, in a workshop entitled 'Second regional training course on harnessing the potential of the fisheries sector for socioeconomic development in the least developed countries' which is being held at Palms Hotel in Quatre Bornes. The opening was held this morning in the presence of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Virendra Daby.
This second Regional Training Course is a joint initiative of United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping. The course will foster an exchange of experiences, best practices and knowledge among policymakers and experts from several of these countries to build their capacity to better harness the development potential of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors and improve sanitary and phytosanitary standards. This includes efforts to meet international food safety and quality standards in markets in developed countries.
In his address, Mr Daby said that the fisheries sector in Mauritius has great potential to boost growth, employment and food security. The large Exclusive Economic Zone of Mauritius, he recalled, can provide a large amount of resources which have to be exploited sustainably. He further added that our processing sector, which is the tuna cannery, alone represents 26% of the total export of Mauritius.
Speaking about the training course, the Permanent Secretary stated that it is being held as part of a United Nations Development Account project on building the capacities of selected LDCs to upgrade and diversify their fish exports. He underlined that the course builds on the first training course organised at the Asian Regional Center of excellence at the Nha Trang University of Vietnam in 2018, and the findings and recommendations of previous national, regional and interregional capacity-building workshops on fisheries sector development in the LDCs.
He indicated that the training course will increase expertise and technical knowledge of Governments to formulate and implement export development and diversification strategies to tap fishery potential existing in selected LDCs. It will also improve capacity of Governments and the private sector in selected LDCs to upgrade standards and comply with international food safety and related sanitary and phytosanitary standards, he said.
Setting up of a Regional Centre of Excellence
The workshop also coincided with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between UNCTAD and the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping. The MOU will enable the setting up of a "Regional Centre of Excellence" in Mauritius to serve as a hub for capacity building in the fisheries and aquaculture sector for LDCs in the African and Asian regions. The Regional Centre of Excellence will organise training activities on a periodic basis for policy makers, experts and practitioners in the fisheries sector from countries mentioned earlier.
The training course is being delivered by experts from UNCTAD and the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, in partnership with experts from the International Maritime Organisation, Nha Trang University of Vietnam, the International Organisation for Standardisation, the Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands, the Marine Stewardship Council, and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council.