Mauritius launches scheme to encourage off-lagoon fishing
To increase the incomes of small-scale fishers and relieve pressure on depleted marine resources, the government is providing incentives for off-lagoon fishing. (Image: Marc Dozier/Corbis)
Mauritius Finance Minister Xavier-Luc Duval launched the 50% grant scheme for the purchase of small boats, colloquially called ‘Canottes’, for the fishermen community in Port-Louis last week.
The scheme of 50% allowance on the purchase of off-lagoon Canottes is equivalent to an amount of Rs 200,000 per Canottes for the fishermen community.
Under Budget 2014, this facility was proposed by the government to improve the livelihood of fishermen and encourage them to relocate from lagoon to off-lagoon fishing.
Overfishing in the lagoons of Mauritius has a destructive effect on the coral reef and the marine life it harbours.
To increase the incomes of small-scale fishers and relieve pressure on depleted marine resources, the government is providing incentives for off-lagoon fishing.
Duval said that an amount of Rs 2 million has been allocated for the provision of some ten Canottes and additional funds for supplementary Canottes might be provided if the scheme is prosperous.
During the launch, the Finance Minister spoke on the different facilities offered to the fishermen community by the government to endorse both artisanal and industrial fishing.
In order to enhance activities in the seafood sector, Duval appealed to the fishermen community to take advantage of the various incentives.
Minister of Fisheries, Nicolas Von-Mally, also present at the event, reiterated Duval’s request to the fishermen community to take advantage of the facility, and also appealed to them to give suggestions to improve their working conditions.
Von-Mally highlighted the multiple contributions of the fisheries sector to the economy and observed that the fishermen community is required to be part of the economic democratization process which has been set up by the government.
He also detailed several projects which are on the right track, such as the floating aquaculture cages where Rs 8 million has been allocated for the purchase of 20 such cages and the re-stocking programme of lagoons under a provision of Rs 5 million to increase the number of fingerlings (juvenile fish) in the lagoons.
The Ministry of Fisheries in collaboration with the Development Bank of Mauritius will lead the 50% grant scheme project.
Registered fishermen will be given a loan amounting to Rs 200,000 with an interest rate of 7.65% repayable within a period of seven years.
The Ministry of Fisheries should register the Canotte and it should operate outside the lagoon.
To be eligible for the scheme, the registered fisherman must be aged between 30 and 50 years.