World Fisheries Day 2019, with a focus on ensuring social sustainability throughout the long and complex value chains of the fisheries and aquaculture sector, was observed, yesterday, by the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, at Le Morne village. In that context, a wreath laying ceremony was held in memory of fishermen lost at sea.
In his address, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Virendra Kumarsingh Daby, who was speaking on behalf of Minister Sudheer Maudhoo, recalled that the fisheries sector in Mauritius has significantly contributed in the economy of the country in terms of job creation, increase in foreign currency, and provision of fish for the population. This sector, he said, also helps to alleviate poverty in the society.
Acknowledging the country's vast exclusive economic zone of 2,3 million km2 and its enormous potential for the economy, Mr Daby said that Government is implementing various measures aimed at promoting the interests of fishermen. He further added that initiatives will be put in place to encourage the fishermen community to become an important stakeholder in the oceanic initiatives. According to the Economic Development Board, the ocean economy represents more than 10,5% of the national Gross Domestic Product, with a total number of direct jobs estimated at more than 20,000, he said.
The Permanent Secretary also indicated that the ocean industry and the blue economy are called upon to become a major pillar of the economy. Government, he highlighted, is also enhancing the fisheries sector by encouraging all fishermen to practice semi-industrial fishing, as well as giving incentives to young people to integrate the oceanic industry. Facilities given include training, grants, and loans for the purchase of semi-industrial vessels.
Speaking about aquaculture, Mr Daby underlined that this sector is a promising emerging one which is called upon to consolidate the seafood hub. Aquaculture, he added, is developing fast and is a means to increase stocks of fish and create direct employment. According to him, sea cucumber, edible algae and molluscs with biomedical properties represent significant aquaculture potentials. In that context, Government will assist in the democratisation of commercial aquaculture, he said.
As regards World Fisheries Day, the Permanent Secretary pointed out that fisheries play an integral role in sustaining not only human lives but also aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. More than 25% of the world's dietary protein is provided by fish and many fishermen rely on fish stocks for sustenance, making the protection of our fish stocks critical, he said.
World Fisheries day
World Fisheries day is celebrated every year on 21 November throughout the world by fishing communities. It draws attention to the problems related to fisheries like overfishing, unsustainable fishing techniques, habitat destruction, inadequate methods of fishing, and other threats to our freshwater and marine resources.