A certificate award ceremony for participants having completed the Coral Culture Training Programme (CCTP) was held, today, at the Village Hall of Bel Ombre. Some 20 participants, comprising mainly coastal community members and fishers, received their certificates on this occasion. Award of certificate ceremonies will also be held in other localities for a total of 105 participants.
The Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, the Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo, members of Parliament, and other personalities were present at the award ceremony.
In his address, Minister Maudhoo highlighted that this project, which will be implemented in other regions around the country, aims at enhancing capacity building of coastal communities in coral culture and small-scale reef rehabilitation techniques, hence providing additional skills to the communities. He underlined that participants, who have received their certificates, will also be able to offer their services for coral farming in the lagoon in front of hotels, thus diversifying their activities. He added that more investment will be made in training and security for fishers as these are important issues for this sector.
He stressed on the importance of hygiene while dealing with sea products so that fishers can sell their catch directly to hotels as, to date, more than 90% of sea products served in hotels are imported. He informed that several other projects will be implemented for fishers, while encouraging them to adopt new fishing techniques so as to be more efficient, and also dwelt on fisherman cards and on bad weather allowance allocated to fishers.
Moreover, Minister Maudhoo expressed hope to see a decrease of 25% of imported fish products consumed locally over the next five years.
As for Minister Ganoo, he commended the Mauritius Oceanography Institute (MOI) for the work performed during the last 21 years and dwelt on the importance of having a good strategy for the development of the blue economy.
He also underscored that other projects such as the "Assistance Scheme for training of fishers in coral farming and fish breeding" will be jointly implemented by the MOI and the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC) from July 2021 to June 2022. This project, he added, will be implemented at targeted coastal village sites. The training programme, he informed, will be a crash course on Coral Farming and Aquaponics techniques comprising of lectures as well as hands on practical at sea. A target 1,000 fishers (registered and new applicants) will be trained.
Community-based coral culture project
It is recalled that in 2017, the MOI in collaboration with the AFRC started a "Community-based coral culture project in the Republic of Mauritius". Implementation of project activities started with an island-wide awareness raising programme and four sites, namely La Gaulette, Quatre Soeurs, Grand Gaube and Bel Ombre were selected.
From December 2017 to March 2020: 17 demo farms were set up for culture of more than 10,000 selected coral fragments; more than 8,000 farmed coral colonies were transplanted to 16 coral gardens; over 1,500 m² of degraded reefs have been rehabilitated; 102 fishers were successfully trained in set-up, maintenance, monitoring and management of demo sea-based coral farms and coral gardens; and more than 3,500 members from the general public were sensitised.
Training of fishers was carried out in community centres and village halls in their respective localities, and hands-on practical field sessions were undertaken at sea. Throughout the project, trainees were provided with the necessary course materials which comprise booklets and flyers as well as field accessories including snorkelling sets and other protective field equipment. The trainees also benefited from a monthly stipend of Rs 1,500, as well as from additional training in snorkelling, PADI-First aid Emergency First Responder and advanced training as eco-guides.