The fisheries sector contributes 1% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and plays a major role in terms of employment and other associated activities. Investments in the seafood hub as at December 2005 totaled Rs. two billion. The contribution of the Seafood hub together with the possibility of maximizing benefits from the development of aquaculture and expected outputs from the land based oceanic activities would no doubt give fisheries an important weight in the contribution of the national wealth of the country in the near future. Mauritius is encouraging a development paradigm centred on human resources, information technology and sea food, with a focus on higher value adding activities.
At present, the Government of Mauritius, jointly with the private sector, is determined to develop the economy around the concept of a seafood hub. This will require increasing and diversifying local seafood production (which presently does not satisfy local consumption), exports of fish products, huge investments in local infrastructure, quality assurance, training, management and the courage to replace traditional methods with modern technology. Arable land and fish are the main natural resources of Mauritius, but small-scale fisheries as a business sector is lagging far behind textiles and trade.
The potential of the vast Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.9 million square kilometers is as yet unexplored, as it is mainly the lagoons and banks that are exploited for fish, while Mauritius currently imports 13,000 tons of fish and fishery products per year to satisfy the demand of Mauritians and the growing numbers of tourists visiting the island.
Investments in the seafood hub idea totals Rs. 2 billion (US$ 62.5 million) so far, and the money is used to encourage efficient small-scale business development, based on human resources, information technology and value-addition to seafood. Seafood related sectors to be developed include fishing, transshipment, storage and warehousing, light processing (sorting, grading, cleaning, filleting and loining), canning and ancillary services including ship chandlling, bunkering, ship agencies and ship building and repair.
Administrative procedures for loading, unloading and export of fish and fish products is now done as a one-stop shop service, and the open-at-all-hours concept was introduced to ensure that services can be provided on a 7 days a week basis. New operators are encouraged to set up fisheries businesses in Mauritius.
Last Updated on: 20-04-2010