Mauritian Fisheries Minister Nicolas Von-Mally has defended the signing of a Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) with the European Union in February 2012, saying the country obtains revenue from the resources without the need for investment in the sector which is very huge.
Replying to queries of fishers’ movements and associations and local environmentalists on Saturday, the Minister stressed that the FPA provides employment opportunities for Mauritians on vessels, in ports and associated services, as well as boosts exports.
“It also strengthens institutional capacities in the fisheries sector by helping to improve research, and monitoring, control and surveillance activities, as well as training and the viability of the small-scale fishing sector,” the Minister said.
Von-Mally also dwelt on the benefits to the fishing community and the stakeholders at large in terms of improved infrastructure, building of fish landing stations, dredging of channels and creation of boat passages, construction of slipways for fishermen, equipment for Fisheries Protection Service, radio telephone network, building of fisheries posts, assistance to Fishermen Welfare Fund and mangrove propagation.
He pointed out that although the yearly average catch by EU vessels is around 1,718 tonnes in Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of Mauritius, the EU would be paying for 5,500 tonnes amounting to Euro 357,500 per year.
The Minister indicated that Mauritius would annually get Euro 660,000 for the 5,500 tonnes of tuna and Euro 302,500 for the support and implementation of a maritime policy, aimed at promoting sustainable fisheries development and management in Mauritius’ waters.
As regards provision to avoid any adverse effects on the activities of small scale fishermen, the Minister said that several measures had been taken.
According to the Minister, the spillover effects of the FPA on the island’s economy are numerous. The fish processing sector provides 6,000 direct jobs and 10,000 indirect jobs.
Some 90,000 tonnes of raw tuna are procured from EU vessels for processing in the seafood hub for export duty free and quota free on the EU market.
In addition, some 10,000 tonnes of raw materials are purchased for processing and export of the finished product namely, 3,000 tonnes of preserved tuna and 600 tonnes of tuna loins to the EU market.
This FPA establishes the terms and conditions under which vessels registered in and flying the flag of EU may carry out tuna fishing in Mauritius waters in accordance with the provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other rules of international laws and practices.
This agreement will be for a period of six years and renewed for additional periods of three years.