Mauritius: The eighth Fisheries Protocol, which sets out the provisions for economic, financial, technical, and scientific cooperation in the fisheries sector between the European Union (EU) and the Republic of Mauritius for the period 2022 to 2026, was exchanged today, in Port-Louis.
The Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Alan Ganoo; the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo; and the Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation in Mauritius, Mr Vincent Degert, were present on occasion.
In his address, Minister Ganoo stated that Mauritius and the EU enjoyed excellent relations and had witnessed strong collaboration over the years, anchored on common values of cooperation and constructive economic and trade relations.
“The eighth Fisheries Protocol,” he said, “will further consolidate the existing cooperation between Mauritius and the EU.” “The main objective,” he pointed out, “is to promote responsible fishing and guarantee the conservation and sustainable exploitation of fisheries resources as well as the development of the sector.” “The Protocol,” he added, “will uphold mutually-beneficial cooperation to accelerate the implementation of Government Agenda 2030.”
Minister Ganoo underlined that Mauritius enjoyed duty-free access to all products, including fish products, on the EU market as a result of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the EU and Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) States.
“This,” he said, “has enabled Mauritius to benefit to a great extent on fish processing, including an automatic derogation of tons of preserved tuna.”
He stated that the EU had agreed to renew the decision of ESA countries on the automatic derogation as of January 2023, which, according to him, would contribute to the development of the Mauritian seafood sector.
Speaking on Small Islands Development States, he indicated that it was crucial to develop the ocean and to work for a more peaceful, secured maritime zone.
In this regard, he said that the fight against illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing was a pressing issue that required international and regional cooperation.
He expressed his thanks to the EU for its assistance through the funding of a maritime security programme in the fight against IUU fishing, piracy, drugs and arms trafficking, adding that Mauritius looked forward to continuing its engagement with the EU on issues of common interest.
As for Minister Maudhoo, he mentioned that Mauritius was a major exporter of tropical tuna in the western Indian Ocean and one of the most important exporters of canned tuna to Europe. He thanked the EU for the continuation of the Fisheries Partnership Agreement through the signature of this new Fisheries Protocol.
“The Protocol,” he added, “makes new provisions, including higher landings of by-catch caught in the Exclusive Economic Zone of Mauritius, placement of Observers on the EU vessels for more transparent fisheries management and to combat IUU fishing, reinforcement of the monitoring of fishing fleet through new IT tool, and increased employment opportunities.”
He urged the EU to accelerate efforts to enable Mauritius the acquisition of two patrol vessels for better surveillance in Mauritian waters. He was hopeful that the new Protocol would further develop the Blue Economy sector in the country.
For his part, Ambassador Degert spoke of the excellent longstanding bilateral relations between Mauritius and the EU. He recalled that the first fisheries partnership agreement was signed by the EU and Mauritius in 1989 and that the EU continued to renew the Protocol over the years.
“This new Protocol,” he said, “will promote sustainable practices and protection of the maritime zone as well as will bring social and economic benefits to Mauritius.”