Mauritius finalizing new fisheries bill

Mauritius Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, and Shipping Sudheer Maudhoo

Mauritius is finalizing the development of a new fisheries bill to support more-effective management of country’s marine biodiversity and resources.

An island nation of 1.2 million people, Mauritius has an annual per-capita consumption of 28 kilograms of seafood per year.

Mauritius Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, and Shipping Minister Sudheer Maudhoo said the new bill also intends to promote a sustainable ecosystem along the country’s coastal areas as part of a USD 4.6 million (EUR 4.2 million) “Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Management of Coastal Zone” project financed by Global Environment Facility, with the support of the United Nations Development Program.

Maudhoo said the project, which is 80 percent complete, “is instrumental to incorporate policy, strategy, knowledge, and technological expertise for the emergence of the blue economy as a game changer for the economy.”

Mauritius said the new bill will reinforce the current legislation that outlines how the country’s fisheries can be expanded for increased output and spell out measure to tackle illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

The country is also at the moment finalizing other legislative and regulatory frameworks to support the drive to transform the country into an Ocean State through a vibrant blue economy.

For example, Mauritius has committed to consolidate the legal framework of the country’s shipping division through the ratification and implementation of International Maritime Conventions, in addition to taking a leading role in the development of Maritime Conventions and Standards at the IMO, according to the recently published 2020-2021 annual report.

The ministry is also digitizing itself through several initiatives, such as software development for its pelagic fisheries, development of tools for key fishing sector processes such as licensing, and the issuance of permits and fishing clearances.

Mauritius is also finalizing a digital ship registration system, in addition to developing software for the recording of catch data in artisanal fisheries – data the ministry said is critical to eliminating illegal fishing.

Mauritius produces approximately 29,000 metric tons of fish through coastal, demersal, and pelagic fisheries, 86 percent of which are sold on the local market. The remaining 14 percent, typically from marine aquatic farms, is sent to international markets, according to government statistics.

A new legislative framework for Mauritius would help clarify the country’s short- and long-term strategies for improving the marine fisheries sector, as the government eyes achieving optimal revenue generation from a streamlined and sustainable seafood industry.  

Photo courtesy of the Mauritius National Assembly


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