MAURITIUS FISHERIES BASELINE STUDY

November 1983
RAF/78/065/WP/8/83

Fisheries Research and Development Division
Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & N.R.

The designations employed and the presentation of material in this publication do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The views expressed are those of the authors.

A. INTRODUCTION

MAURITIUS ISLAND

Physical Features

Meteorological conditions

Hydrology

RODRIGUES

AGALEGA, ST. BRANDON AND TROMELIN

B. THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT IN MAURITIUS

Reefs and reef-building corals around Mauritius

Unprotected shores of Mauritius

C. THE ARTISANAL FISHERY

1. The fishermen

The boats

The catch

Revenue

2. The Fishery

2.1. The hook and line fishery of Mauritius

Gear

Bait

The fishing grounds

The boats

2.2. The gill net fishery

The gear

Legislation

Operating the gear

2.3. Beach seine net fishery (large net)

The gear

Operating the gear

2.4 Sardine net

2.5 The 'rouget' net

2.6. Basket traps

The gear

C. THE BANKS FISHERY

Introduction

Fishing Grounds

Boats and Gear used

The catch

Marketing and Consumption

Conclusion

D. BOATBUILDING IN MAURITIUS

Artisanal boatbuilding

Specialised/professional boatbuilding

E. FUEL AND OIL - AVAILABILITY AND PRICE

Big fishing vessels

Tourist vessels and sport fishing vessels

Government vessels

Artisanal Fisheries

F. MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION BY THE MAURITIUS FISHERMEN'S CO-OPERATIVE FEDERATION LIMITED (MFCF)

The West Coast Project

The last Coast Project

The Grand Port Project

The Rodrigues Project

Existing-infrastructure

Other items expected in June, September and October 1982

Products marketed by the Federation

List of markets

Price of fish

9. Some factors restraining cooperative fishermen from maintaining or expanding their activities

G. MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION OF FISH BY MIDDLEMEN

H. IMPORT OF FISH AND FISHERY PRODUCTS

I. FISHERY STATISTICS IN MAURITIUS

THE ALBION FISHERIES RESEARCH CENTRE

Credit Facilities for Fishermen

The Development Bank of Mauritius

The Mauritius Cooperative Central Bank

COLD STORAGE FACILITIES

The Mauritius Tuna Fishing and Canning Enterprises (MTFC)

The cannery

THE PURSE SEINER 'LADY SUSHIL'

TUNA TRANSHIPMENT BASE

The Kaigai Kyogyo Kabushiki Kaisa (KGKK)

Freshwater

A. INTRODUCTION

The state of Mauritius is composed of the following islands in the South West Indian Ocean in decreasing order of size: Mauritius island, Rodriguez, the Cargados Carajos group, Algalega and Tromelin. The outer limits encompassed by the economic zones derived from these islands extends roughly from 8°30'S and 24°30'S to 52°30'V and 67°W.

MAURITIUS ISLAND

Physical Features

Mauritius is a volcanic island composed mainly of basalt rock. It is situated in the SouthWest of the Indian Ocean between 57°18' and 57°48' of East longitude and between 19°50' and 20°31' of South latitude.

Mauritius, roughly pearshaped in outline with the long sides facing approximately towards the East and West respectively and wide convex base facing South, is about 1850 square kilometres in area. The coast line, some 240 km long, is extremely indented owing to the varying age of the rock.

The population is of 950 000 persons, characterised by a wide variety of ethnic origins. The economy is largely based on sugar production, but in recent years industrial development has been rapid, particularly in the textile field, and tourism is also a major foreign exchange earner.

Meteorological conditions

The subtropical climate of Mauritius is determined by its oceanic position and location at 20°S in the belt of South-East trade winds. These winds blow strongly throughout the winter months, May to September but in the summer months of November to April, they are weaker and veer to East-South-East and East. Summer is also the cyclone season, the greatest frequency of occurence being in January and February.

The day maximum and night minimum air temperatures during the hottest months average 31°C and 24°C at sea level; in the winter they average 25°C and 20°C respectively. The rainfall is cyclone-influenced and is markedly seasonal particularly in the coastal region which receives an average of 145cm annually. The Central Plateau receives over 500cm a year. Temperature, sunshine hours and rainfall during the years 1976-79 are presented in Figure 1.

Hydrology

A rhythm of two high and two low tides in each lunar day is manifest with spring and neap tides at the appropriate phase of the moon. The spring tides are of unequal height. The tidal range is small, never exceeding 1m for the strongest spring tides.

Salinities of the surface water near the reefs range between 35% and 35.5%. There is very marked salinity gradient in brackish biotopes, either in proximity to rivers, or in areas of freshwater seepage found mainly on the East coast.

Sea temperatures follow the mean air temperature closely from 22°C in August and September to 27°C from January to April.

The primary productivity of the sea around the island is practically the lowest of the Indian Ocean - less than 15g C/m2/day.

RODRIGUES

Rodrigues is a small basaltic island located 360 n.mi. East of Mauritius. The population of 35,000 people depend largely of crofting type agriculture, with livestock and maize being the main products.

The island is very mountainous and the soil is pour due to erosion in the past when extensive grazing by livestock denuded the hillsides of cover. The annual rainfall in Rodrigues is 1,200mm. The monthly variation in air temperature, wind speed and rainfall average of 30 years observation are shown in Figure 2.

Fishing is therefore of major nutritional importance, with annual per capita consumption estimated at about 50 kg. Most of the fishing is done within the barrier reef which extends around the island, forming a shallow lagoon with an area of 150 km2. Fishing is also carried out beyond the reef. The banks beyond the reef vary in depth between 20 and 80m, and cover an area of 800 km2. Surpluses of fish are salted in drying and salting stations and sold on the Mauritian market.

AGALEGA, ST. BRANDON AND TROMELIN

These three islands or island groups have little or no permanent population, and are of coralline origin. Agalega, the Northernmost island is located at 10°28'S and 56°40'E. The main economic activity is copra production. Fish production being very limited due to the steep drop-off outside the reef, is only sufficient for consumption of the local workers.

St. Brandon - the Cargados Carajos Shoals- is a group of about 10 sand-banks protected by a 40-mile long horse-shoe-shaped coral reef, centered on 16°40'S and 59°50'E. It is a traditional advance base for fishing on the banks of the Mascarene ridge, and as such has a population of fishermen only. Local catch is salted and dried for export to Mauritius.

Tromelin island is a sandbank located at 15°52'S and 54°30'E. The only inhabitants at this time are meteorological officers detached by the French Administration.

B. THE MARINE ENVIRONMENT IN MAURITIUS

The island is almost totally surrounded by a peripheral fringing reef interrupted at frequent intervals by surge channels, narrow passes and river mouths. The reef is absent on the South coast for about 15.5km and on two stretches on the West coast totalling 10.5km (Baissac, 1953). The lagoon area enclosed is about 90 sq. miles (Baissac, 1953). The shelf is generally narrow except in the North where there is a bank of some 200 sq. mlles including Gunners Quoin, Flat, Round and Serpent islands.

Deep water channels within the peripheral fringing reef and protected bays are bordered by a sheltered reef where large and fragile coral colonies can be round. Coral colonies also occur in perches within the lagoon.

The reef off the Eastern shore is up to 5km off the coast, giving a wide, sheltered lagoon, but on the Western side of the island, the lagoon is generally narrow and is relatively sheltered in comparison to the Vest. In the South-East trade wind season between April and October, the East coast is subject to heavy wave action. During the warmer period from December to Match, the reefs are subject to raves of an oceanic type, i.e. of greater rave length and amplitude. Tropical cyclones which occur in the area during that period cause strong raves which cause damage and erosion of the reef spurs on the external slope.

The tidal range is quite small (0.6m in Mauritius; 1.20m in Rodrigues) so that coral colonies on the reef flat are hot left exposed for a long time or to a very great extent. The tides are of a semi-diurnal type and the-average depth of water in the lagoon varies between 0.4 and 0.8m, increasing to some 1.5m in the North.

Reefs and reef-building corals around Mauritius

The morphology of the lagoon and reef around Mauritius is influenced by several natural factors such as strength of waves, turbidity, salinity (no corals at river mouths due to decreasing salinity) depth, and original shape of the substratum. The more recent interference of man in the ecology of the lagoon has already caused some damage. The use of seine nets in the lagoon which tear off coral patches, the breaking of coral for use in the production of lime and the illegal use of dynamite in fishing have contributed greatly to the damage of these biotopes, as has the indiscriminate collection of red helmet shells (Cassis rufa) which has led to a dramatic increase in the populations of encrusting echinoderms.

The reef itself may be divided into several biotopes which differ by reason of the natural factors influencing them. Calm and rough regions give way to different colonies which are adapted to one or the other condition. Some corals such as Pocillopora damicornis assume a different degree of thickness in their branches depending on the strength of the wave action prevailing. Down to a depth of 4m on the external slope, colonies of the hydrocoral Millepora platyphylla may be found in the rough areas, whereas it would be replaced by M. dichotoma in calm areas. The reef may therefore be divided into a series of biotopes, each with its characteristic faunal and floral population. Faure 11975) in his "Etude Comparative des recifs corraliens de l'Archipel des Mascareignes (Ocean Indien)" divides the fringing reef into six different compartments as follows:-

  1. The External Slope: This is the seaward and downward slope of the reef towards deep waters. This zone consists of spurs and grooves of variable density depending on the wave action (erosion) and initial shape of the volcanic substratum. Faure divides the biotope again into three regions:
    1. down to a depth of 4m where the hydrocoral Millepora and other branched madrepores (e.g. Acropora spp., Stylophora mordax, Pocillopora damicornis, P. verrucosa can be found.
    2. An intermediate zone consisting of encrusting massive colonies (Leptoria phrygia, Platygyra daedalea, Favia speciosa, Montipora spp.) and Alcyonaria of the genus Lobophytum, Sinularia, Sarcophyton. In caves or overhangs, madrepora are replaced by calcareous algae, sponges, hydrozoans, bryozans, polychaetes and Serpullides.
    3. The deeper region where large massive forms such as Porites solida can be found as well as species of the genus Favia and Turbinaria among others.
  2. The external reef flat which is an elevated area also consists of different regions: madrepora, hydrocorals and calcareous algae occur on the top part of the spurs and grooves according to the hydrodynamic conditions prevailing. Rough regions are colonised by hardier species such as Millepora platyphylla. Madrepora are less numerous and comprise massive and encrusting forms. They become more numerous in the calm regions in their branched forms. Further landwards, madrepora of smaller sizes are found where the associated fauna is comprosed of numerous echinoderms (Echinometra matthaei, Diadema spp.) and algae such as Amphiroa fragilissima, Corallina polydactyla, Hypnea musciformis, Jania spp., Eucheuma serra, Halimeda tuna and in summer Sargassum densifolium.
  3. A "detrital ridge" consisting of large fragments torn from the external ridge and thrown landwards by rough weather and waves.
  4. An internal reef flat which begins behind the large fragments and continues towards the lagoon where, after a proliferation of living madrepora, the coverage by madrepora may reach 80% but where many colonies are dead. Massive or tabular forms are found here which may be secondarily covered by encrusting forms and branched forms of Acropora, Galaxea and Pocillopora. Towards the lagoon, vertical growth is limited.
  5. In the lagoon itself, the deeper zones are colonised by lage Porites spp. and encrusting colonies such as Montipora spp. Pavona varians or the branched Styllophora pistillata and Pocillopora damicornis. Towards the beach are smaller and less vigorous colonies due to the fact that they are often exposed at low tide and also due to the fresh water and sediment coming from land. Faure (1975) also mentions that the intensive extraction of coral from the lagoon has contributed to the fact that fewer colonies now occur in this region.
  6. Morphological discontinuities such as passes, channels, river mouths. The passes are large or small cuts into the reef from the lagoon to the external reef front. Their upper sides are colonised by small branched corals (Acropora, Stylophora, Pocillopora, Millepora) and alcyonaria and calcareous algea.

Between 4 and 18m depth, massive forms (Favia, Goniastrea, Platygyra) large encrusting forms (Echinopora), and smaller ones (Acanthastrea) are found as well as Alcyonarians. Below 18m, various massive and encrusting forms occur as well as the branched Dendrophyllia.

The main factor relating to the species occurring at different depths is the rapid fading of light and the current, i.e. periodical stirring up of sediment. Also, these regions offer a good biotope for alcyonarians as the water is always flowing and is rich in suspended matter. Faure (1975) also lists the coral species found in the lagoon of the three islands: Mauritius, Reunion and Rodrigues.

Unprotected shores of Mauritius

Hodgkins, E.P. and C. Michel (1960) describe the three types of unprotected shores occurring in Mauritius where no fringing reef is present. In the South, high cliffs fall abruptly to a water depth of 20m. Between Flic-en-Flac and Pointe aux Sables are cliffs with irregular platforms at 2 to 3m below the surface or boulder beaches with boulders cemented together by limestone. In places at Flic-en-Flac, Poste Lafayette and Roches Noire, there are lava flows reaching into the water. Most coastal rock is basalt with limited outcrops of volcanic tuffs and limestones. Although rocks are of different hardness and resistance, all are inhabited by the encrusting sea urchin Echinometra mathaei. The limestone may be coral rock, cemented coral debris or beach rock.

The shores within the lagoon are mostly sandy or mangrove-covered as on the East coast. Rocky shores are limited. Mangrove areas with brackish water are the preferred habitat of the oyster Crassostrea cucullata and the crab Scylla serrata, both highly valued as food. The mangrove area at Melville is being exploited as an oyster farm. Mullets and Lutjanids such as L. rivulatus and rabbit-fish (Siganus spp.) are also found in these areas.

The reef-associated fish which are important for the lagoon fisheries of Mauritius belong to the families Lethrinidae (about 10%) and parrot fish (Scaridae, Callyodontidae, Labridae) about 6%.

The Lethrinidae consist of Capitaine (L. nebulosus), Dame berri (L. mahsena), Battardé

Members of the family Scaridae ingest dead coral while scraping off algae from their surface. Some members of this family are also known to feed directly on live coral, biting off pieces which they grind to a fine constitution in their pharyngeal mill. Since they form a very large percentage of coral fish, and some reach considerable size, they are important agents in production of sediment of coralline origin.

The labridae feeding on hard-shelled organisms such as echinoderms, molluscs or crustaceans grind the shells to finer sediment. But the most consistent coral feeders are the puffer fish Arothron spp. and file fish. Randall (1974) found large pieces of coral in their stomachs. The trigger fish uses its powerful jaws to break corals, feeding also on small epifauna. Other plectognaths also affect coral by feeding on them (Diodon spp., Balistes spp.), as well as certain Damsel fish (Pomacanthidae) and small wrasses. Other coral fish, e.g. Chaetodon spp. browse on the live polyps. According to Randall (1974) this is usually done over a large area so that the whole colony is never affected. (Live coral in an aquarium, however, would quickly be exterminated by polyp-browsing fish.)

The coral reef acts not only as a habitat and spawning ground for fish but also directly (coral-eating fish) or indirectly (fish feeding on associated molluscs, polychaetes, crustaceans) as a source of food. Algae associated with coral reefs form a source of food for the Scaridae, coralline algae are fed upon by the surgeon fish (Acanthuridae). Larger predatory fish find their source of food in their smaller fish living around the coral. Other animals having a direct effect on the coral reefs are the echinoderms, which bore holes and furrows into dead coral, diminishing their resistance to erosion, and to fish which tear off coral while browsing epiphytic algae. The crown of thorns starfish (Acanthaster plancii), which feeds on living coral, is fortunately not sufficiently common to cause serious damage. Echinometra mathaei occurs regionally in large quantities. Other echinoderms occuring are Heterocentrotus mamillatus, H. trigonarius, Echinostrephus molaris, Trineuptes gratilla, Stomopneustes variolaris, Diadema setosum, Echinotris diadema (Salm, 1976).

Henon (1973) studied the distribution of molluscs in the bay of Mahebourg and found that the coast where rough sand occured, was populated by Tectarius granulans. He also found on the basalt rocks further seaward populations of Planaris sulcatus, Nerita bisecta, Cypraea annulus and several Drupa spp.. Vermetus spp. were found in the coral, Porites and Charma on the rocks. In sandy areas of calmer waters, Conus lividus was found in large numbers as well as Modulus tectum and Haliotis cancina. The reef flat was characterised by Canus chaldeus and Turbo setosus. Salm (1976) sampled specimens of Pinna kraussi (Hache d'armes).

Annelids and crabs on the reef in Réunion and Mauritius were studied by Peyrot-Clausade (1979) and it was found that the reefs in Mauritius had richer populations. Large numbers of polychaetes were found on the reef flat (Lepidonotus jukesi, Nereis trifasciata, Platynereis calodonta, Nereis jacksonii. Decapods were also particularly numerous there, decreasing in number in the lagoon itself. Near the beach, the polychaete population was rich in Eunicidae (Eunice antennata).

Both annelids and decapods were found in higher numbers in cavities of branched Melobesiae (Syllidae, Nereidae, Chrysopetalidae, Amphinomidae, Aphroditidae).

Two crustacean delicacies which inhabit our reef are the spiny lobster mainly Panulirus longipes and P. pennicillatus which live on the outer reef flat and the outer slope in the clear, well oxygenated waters they require. They have been heavily overfished. On the Eastern reef of St. Brandon P. pennicillatus is the predominant species (Bass, 1970).

Sharks occur mostly outside the lagoon but are also found in channels of deeper water within the lagoon. The main species occuring is Carcharinus amblyrhynchus (Requin Barre) in shallow waters over and around the banks and around the islands (Wheeler, 1962). They reach sexual maturity at 112-140 cm when they are about 2 years old.

C. albimarginatus (maximum size 170 cm) (Requin Houareau) are usually found in deeper waters. In general, large individuals of C. milberti (Requin Blanc) are found in deeper waters whilst smaller ones are in shallower waters near the reef.

On the banks at St. Brandon, the main species fished (Bass, 1970) were C. albimarginatus, C. sorrah, C. amblyrhynchus, C. milberti. These species formed 88% of the line and hook fishing and would, according to Bass, form the basic stock for any shark fishery there. Catch rates do not however appear to be large enough to justify a fishery. Bass obtained similar results to those of Wheeler who surveyed the area in 1948-49).

C. THE ARTISANAL FISHERY

1. The fishermen

About 2000 fishermen are engaged in the artisanal fishery which provides the main supply of fresh fish to the market. The fishermen use one or a combination of the following gears: line, basket trap, harpoon and nets. This is shown in the following table:

GEAR LAGOON % OFFLAGOON % TOTAL %
Basket trap (BT)

456

30

105

19

561

27

Line (L)

299

19

264

49

563

27

Harpoon (H)

57

4

-

-

57

3

BT & L

172

11

170

32

342

16

Large net

503

32

-

-

503

24

Gill net

63

4

-

-

63

3

TOTAL

1 550

100

539

100

2 089

100

TOTAL %

74

-

26

-

100

100

Most of the fishermen (74%) are confined to the lagoon fishery. The rest (26%) leaves the lagoon particularly for line or basket-trap fishing. Net fishing is confined to the lagoon only.

The boats

The fishermen make use of wooden boats commonly known as pirogues (6 to 7m long). There were 840 such boats at the last count in 1982. Half of them are not motorised. Of the rest 3% only are fitted with inboard engines.

Non motorised 54%
Motorised 46%
1. Outboard motors 43%
2. Inboard motors   3%

The following table gives the percentage ownership of gear by artisanal fishermen.

Boats and gears - 32%
Boats -    1%
Gear - 20%
Nil - 47%

The catch

The catch landed by professional fishermen has shown a decrease during the last two years. This is due mainly to bad prevailing weather, thus reducing the number of days fishing.

Revenue

The average monthly fisherman's earning was approximately Rs.800 in 1981. The basket trap fisherman operating outside the lagon appear to be better off. Net fishermen are the least renumerated.

2. The Fishery

2.1. The hook and line fishery of Mauritius

Gear

Fishermen engaged in this fishery use 0.7 to 2mm ø monofilament nylon lines in the offlagoon fishery and 0.7 to 1mm ø nylon lines in the lagoon, with hook sizes varying from 2/0 to 4/0. Pieces of metal weighing 500-1 000g are used as sinkers.

The number of hooks in a line is normally a function of the depth where fishing is carried out. Lagoon fishermen never use more than five hooks on one line,while in the offlagoon fishery there can be as many as 10 hooks on one line.

The drawing below illustrate a model line.

1st 5 hooks - snood 15-18" long
2nd 5 hooks - snood 50-60" long
3rd 5 hooks - snood 50-60" long
One swivel placed after each 5 hooks.

Bait

On each fishing boat, there are 3 to 4 fishermen and they carry about 2.5kg of bait per fishing trip. The commonly used baits are squid which is purchased at Rs.20 per kg, rouget (goat fish), flying fish and octopus purchased at Rs.16 per kg and skipjack at Rs.12 per kg. In most cases the bait is provided by the middlemen. Bait is readily available during summer months but difficult to obtain during winter.

The fishing grounds

The offlagoon fishermen fish in depths of 20-200m, either on the shelf edge or on coral rubble areas favoured by lethrinids.

They set sail at around 6 a.m. to be back by 3 p.m. However, from November to January when the weather is generally favourable, they sometimes leave at sunset to be back at sunrise.

The lagoon fishermen fish at depths of 10 to 30 metres which they reach in less than one hour. They choose canals, pits, basins or passes to set their lines.

They normally set sail in the evening to be back between midnight and early morning. Some may leave in the morning coming back during daytime.

The boats

Offlagoon fishermen use 6.5 to 7.5m wooden boats "pirogues" or 9 to 11m "pinnaces". The former are generally powered by 6-10 Hp outboard engines whereas the latter have 25-100 Hp diesel inboards. They also carry "Tok" sails (gunter rig) to save, wherever possible, on fuel. The boats used inside the lagoon vary between 6 and 7m. About 40% of these are powered by outboard engines and all carry sails.

2.2. The gill net fishery

The gear

The gill nets are made from 0.7-1mm nylon monofilament twines. The net itself is purchased from retailers and mounted by the fishermen. Local materials are used as floats; mainly sisal, wood or foam rubber which is becoming more popular as it is readily and freely available from the waste of the rubber-sandals industry. The floatline consists of a 9mm ø rope on which the rubber foams floats are fixed at intervals of 40cm. If sisal or wood is used, the interval is reduced to 30cm as the buoyancy in this case is less. The hanging ration is 0.6.

The lead line is mounted with rough stones (occasionally lead sinkers) at 1.5-2m intervals, each weighing 250-500g.

Legislation

The length of the net and the size of the mesh is controlled under the Fisheries Act, 1980. The maximum permissible length is 250m and when diagonally stretched, the mesh is 11cm when wet. The depth is kept at 1.5m.

Furthermore, Section 3 of the Act stipulates that there shall not at any time be licensed more than 20 gill nets. Section 16 restricts the use of a gill net between the 1st of October in any year to the last day of February of the year following. Section 17 further restricts the operation of the net between sunset and sunrise only.

Operating the gear

The gill net is set in places where there is little or no current and used as a demersal gear in depths not exceeding 10-12m; it is kept in position by two anchors (normally big stones) at the two extremities marked by 2 flag buoys at the surface by the use of float lines as illustrated below.

The boat is sometimes anchored to one of the float lines, but in most cases waits a short distance off to avoid drifting into the net.

Due to the nature of the operation, sometimes the fish caught remain as long as eight hours on board. However, as the fishing is during the night, the fish remains fresh when being delivered for sale in the morning. Ice is not used to maintain the quality of the catch.

The species caught are "Geule pavée", "Breton", (Gerres oyena), grey mullet and Carangue (Caranx spp.). The catch for one night for a boat with 4 to 5 fishermen varies between 15 and 150kg.

The operation is carried out from 6 to 7m wooden boats equipped with 6 Hp outboard engines.

Out of the 20 licensed nets, two belong to the cooperative societies and the rest to individual fishermen. The net normally lasts one year. Repairs, if any, are done by the fishermen during daytime or when the weather is not favourable for fishing.

2.3. Beach seine net fishery (large net)

The gear

This net has a maximum length of 500m and made up of square meshes measuring not less than 9cm when stretched diagonally and when the net is wet (Section 2, Fisheries Act, 190). Section 3 of the Act stipulates that no more than 33 large nets shall be licensed at any time, for use around the island of Mauritius. Furthermore, Section 16 of the Act prohibits the use of net between the 1st October in any year to the last day of February of the following year. These nets would be used between sunrise and sunset only. The twines of the yarn can either be 0.5mm nylon monofilaments or multifilament twine. Very few fishermen make their own nets from cotton twines.

A net lasts up to six months and replacement is done by changing pieces. Repairs are performed by the fishermen themselves on days when weather does not permit venturing at sea. Sometimes the middleman will hire one or two persons on a temporary basis to perform repairs.

Floats are of the same type as used in gill nets and are placed in a similar way. This net has a pocket and in this region floats are placed at intervals of 10cm. Depending on where the net is used, stones of 500g-1kg are used as weights at intervals of 1m.

The pocket can either be at one end or in the middle and is determined by the location to be fished.

After every fishing operation, the net is rinsed in the sea and hung on wooden poles for drying, near the beach. Monofilament nets are never left out exposed to the sun.

Operating the gear

The fishing crew consisting of 15-22 persons, proceed with 4-5 boats to the fishing grounds in the lagoon and where the depths can vary between 1m and 6m. Though they reach the grounds propelled by outboard engines, only oars or 'poles' are used for propulsion while shooting the net.

The beginning of the net is preferably shot starting from a point on the beach or from the reef. When fishing in the middle of the sea, the net is shot from two pirogues moving apart slowly, shooting the pocket first.

Fish is driven into the net by the other boats, the fishermen on board beating the water surface with poles or knocking on the thwarts of their boat with sticks.

The main species caught are 'Cordoniers' (Siganus spp.), capitaines (Lethrinus spp.), Red mullet (Mullidae) and Dame Berri (Lethrinus erythropterus).

The large net is very often used in conjunction with a 'canard' net which is specifically meant to capture mullets.

The canard net is a trammel net about 4m wide mounted on ropes, floated horizontally by bamboo poles placed across the net at 2m intervals. The minimum mesh size is 9cm stretched diagonally (Section 2, Fisheries Act, 1980). The canard net is generally set along the seine net in the area where mullet are expected to jump.

Of the 33 licensed nets, 11 belong to cooperatives and 22 to individuals.

2.4 Sardine net

The sardine net is used to fish sardines and lamames (Atherina spp.). The minimum authorized stretched mesh size is 2cm. The net is used on sandy or muddy grounds 1-2m deep inside the lagoon during daytime only.

Fishing is done by 8 to 10 persons from 2 boats. The pocket is found in the middle and one end is always shot from the beach. To avoid illegal use, the net is kept under custody at Fisheries Posts and during fishing one Fisheries Protection Officer accompanies the boats.

2.5 The 'rouget' net

This net with stretched mesh size of 5cm is used on the same principle as the sardine net for fishing red mullet (Peneidae). Fishing is done in 1-3m of water inside the lagoon. The number of fishermen employed is between 10 - 15 using 2-3 boats.

The floats of this net and sardine nets are of the same type as in gill nets and are found at 60cm intervals. Only lead weights at intervals of 40cm are used for these two nets.

2.6. Basket traps

The gear

Fishing with basket traps is performed both within and outside the lagoon. The boats used are the standard type of boats used in the other methods of fishing and carry no special equipment. The size of the traps varies with the contruction material and with the species aimed. In Mauritius, basket traps are either made from sliced bamboo or from 0.5 to 1.0mm diameter galvanised iron wire.

Lobster traps are normally 60 x 90cm with a height of 30cm 'Casier Come' (used for fishing Nasinae) are of irregular sexagonal shape with mesh size between 10-15cm.

The lobster trap - 'Caster homards'. Material - galvanised wire

The lobster trap is made by the fisherman at the rate of two in three days. Some people make the traps and sell them to fishermen at Rs.50 each. The trap lasts about six months.

The 'Casier Cornes' is made by people around the coast and cost Rs.55 each for labour. The material is provided by the fishermen. It normally takes two days to make one trap.

This trap is not made by fishermen. It is made by other people and sold at Rs.75 to Rs.100 each.

C. THE BANKS FISHERY

Introduction

Other than the nearshore fisheries of Mauritius and Rodrigues, the main fishing grounds exploited by Mauritian vessels are the banks of the Mascarene Ridge. Fishing on these banks have been carried out since the eighteenth century by vessels on their inter-island voyages. In the early years the demersal stocks were exploited mainly for salting purposes. Since the survey carried out by Wheeler and Ommanney (1948-49), these banks have gradually started to be the main suppliers of frozen fish to Mauritius.

Fishing Grounds

The main fishing grounds exploited are the Nazareth Bank, the St. Brandon shoals, the Saya de Malha Bank and occasionally the waters around the Chagos Archipelago. The total area of the Nazareth and the Saya de Malha Banks is approximately 110,000 km2. The fishes in these areas are located only on the coral bottom located mainly on the rim of the banks. Stocks of small pelagic fish (Decapterus spp.) are also known to exist on the banks, but have to date only been exploited by a Russion trawl fishery on Saya de Malha bank.

Boats and Gear used

Different types and sizes of mother-vessels ranging from 20m to 60m LOA have used to exploit the banks. They carry 6 to 20 catcher-boats (6 to 7m wooden or fibreglass pirogues) each operated by 3 fishermen. Wijkstrom and Kroepelien (1979) established that the optimum length of a bank vessel would be about 40m. This is confirmed by analysis of data collected on the bank fishery.

As the exploited stocks are found at a depth of 35-45m, and in coralline areas, the fishing is done only by handlines. The catcher-boats fish in a radius of.3 to 8km from the mother-vessel so as to be always in sight of the latter.

The catch

The annual catch from the banks started to be substantial only in the late sixties and the highest exploitation of the banks occurred in the mid-seventies. In 1977 not less than 8 vessels were exploiting the various banks. However, the number of vessels declined to 3 in 1980 and 1981. The main reason behind this collapse was economic.

The control of the price of fish, set up in the early seventies, was lifted in 1981. This policy in a way alleviated the situation and presently the fishery is attracting more investment. Nine vessels are expected to go out fishing by the end of the year.

The following table shows the annual catch in tonnes from each bank. In addition to the indicated figures of frozen fish, St. Brandon supplies an additional 250t of salt fish annually.

Bank

1979

1980

1981

1982

       

(up to October)

Nazareth

1,688

1,146

1,049

1,048

Saya de Malha

447

332

454

1,245

St. Brandon

93

208

168

    42

Chagos

--

--

97

  108

 

-----

-----

-----

-----

TOTAL

2,228

1,686

1,768

2,443

 

-----

-----

-----

-----

The bulk of the catch is made up of a few species and Lethrinus enigmaticus (Dame Berri) constitute 80% of the landings. The other species are serranids, lutianids and carangids. About 3% of the catch consists of red fish which are considered to be toxic and are salted.

Marketing and Consumption

Over the years infrastructure in the form of cold stores and availability of freezers in retail shops have developed steadily. There is presently no major problem in the marketing of frozen fish in Mauritius. However, the total capacity of cold stores which stand at around 1,200t is insufficient, particulary when several vessels land their catch simultaneously.

The consumption of frozen fish has developed slowly mainly because of the competition from fresh fish. Low price and the easy availability of frozen fish are the main attraction of this product to consumers at the moment.

Conclusion

According to previous surveys and studies of the banks, all appear fully exploited and virgin stocks are almost non-existent (FAO/IOP, 1979). However, analysis of data on the catch per fisherman day and the size distribution of the fish indicates that the stocks of fish have not reached a stage of over-exploitation.

Nevertheless, the further expansion of the fishery should not be envisaged as the fishery is based on long-lived fishes whose stocks can be easily harmed by increased fishing effort.

D. BOATBUILDING IN MAURITIUS

The boatbuilding industry is composed of the artisanal boatbuilding section carried out mostly all around the coast and several specialized workshops.

Artisanal boatbuilding

This is the most important yet the most traditional type of boatbuilding carried out by marine carpenters scattered round the coast of Mauritius. Wooden boats 4-12m long used for lagoon as well as off-lagoon purposes are built by workers who were either fisherman in hard days or jack-of-all trades. These boatbuilders have no special training except experience gained by working with older carpenters.

The cost of a 6m wooden boat varies from Rs.9 000 to Rs.10 000 whereas that of a 7.5m one ranges from Rs.14 000 to Rs.16 000. A minimum advance payment of Rs.5 000 is usually asked for and the boat is delivered within two weeks if two to three workes are used. Such boats give satisfaction and have a lifespan of over twenty years with good maintenance.

The tools usually used are clamps, clamp bar, feeler gauge, hacksaw, hammer, pannel saw, plumb bob, spanners and chisels. There is also a trend towards mechanisation and use of electric hand drills, circular saws and combination thicknesser/planers are also common.

Boats are of sawn frame construction, carrel planked. Fastenings are generally hot-dipped galvanized nails. No plans are used, designs being based on tradition.

Besides building boats, these boatbuilders also assist their clients In the choice of engines.

Specialised/professional boatbuilding

One company based in Port Louis harbour builds steel vessels up to 50m including fishing vessels, pilot and harbour launches, tugs, reclamation and sugar barges, dredging pontoons, floats and many others. It has at its disposaI a dry dock of length 129.5m and 15.85m breadth and is backed by a workshop which can undertake repairs and maintenance and general engineering and services. These include repairs and overhauls of engines, underwater mechanical cleaning of ships' hull, underwater photographic surveys and underwater cutting and welding.

Two yards builds boats such as canoes, offlagoon fishing vessels, pedal boats, speed boats, sail boards and dinghies from glass reinforced plastic.

E. FUEL AND OIL - AVAILABILITY AND PRICE

Big fishing vessels

These vessels are supplied directly at duty-free prices from the petrolium companies. Contracts go either to Shell, Esso, Caltex and B.P. situated in the vicinity of the harbour.

Tourist vessels and sport fishing vessels

These are mostly fibreglass vessels having their supply of fuel through private clubs such as the Grand Bay Yatch Club, Le Morne Anglers Club, etc.

Government vessels

Government vessels obtain their supply through the Mauritius Marine Authority at a duty-free price of Rs.19.60 the Imperial gallon.

Artisanal Fisheries

Lagoon fishermen obtain their fuel at filling stations at market prices.

F. MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION BY THE MAURITIUS FISHERMEN'S CO-OPERATIVE FEDERATION LIMITED (MFCF)

The MFCF established in 1978, has about 700 members. The main objectives are marketing of the catch, credit and fishing gear and chandlery supply.

Eighteen primary societies (Fishermen's Co-operative Societies) are affiliated to this federation and each society is represented by two delegates, but only one of the two has full executive powers. These are Seine net, gill net, Basket trap and line Fishermen Cooperative Societies.

The Federation functions under the control and guidance of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources, which is also responsible for audits, supervision and management the with a staff consisting of a French Expert in the field of administration and management, a Principal Cooperative Officer, a Senior Cooperative Officer, a Cooperative Officer and an Assistant Cooperative Officer.

The Central Committee consists of the following:-

1 Chairman 1 Representative of the Ministry
1 Secretary 1 Foreign Expert
1 Accountant Executive 16 Members

There are also three subcommittees consisting of eight members from the above group to look into matters concerning finance, marketing, and personnel.

Presently, the areas of operation have been classified under different projects:- (Refer to Figure 1).

The West Coast Project

This area of operation extends from Tamarin to Riambel. With a donation of 1 800 000 FF from the French Government, a Fishermen's Centre (Maison Des Pˆcheurs de Tamarin) was inaugurated in February 1982 and became operational on 1st March 1982. This centre provides facilities for the collecting, processing, cold storage, ice making and transportation/distribution of the catch.

It has a cold store, three refrigerator modules of 2.5-ton capacity each (2 C), a flake ice making machine and a 1-ton capacity isothermic van. By June 1982, it will have a blast freezer (-40°C) of 2.5-ton capacity, a workshop for the repairs of outboard engines, standby generator (25 KW) and a shop offering fishing gear and tackle.

This centre presently serves fisherman Cooperative Societies located at Tamarin, Grande RiviŠre Noire, Case Noyale, La Gaulette, Le Morne, Savanne and Riambel.

Landings are collected daily and sometimes twice a day by one or two isothermic vehicles and are carried to the Centre at Tamarin for sorting, storage and eventually despatching to various markets.

The last Coast Project

This project covers the coast between Grand Bay and Trou d'Eau Douce. It is also financed by the French Government for the same amount. A Fishermen's Centre is under construction at Cap Malheureux and it will become operational in September 1982. It will offer the same facilities as the Centre at Tamarin.

One and sometimes two isothermic vehicles (1-ton capacity) are daily collecting fish at Trou d'Eau Douce, Poste de Flacq, Poste Lafayette, Roche Noire, Gand Gaube, Cap Malheureux and Grand Bay. They are transported to Pointe aux Sables where they are stored in a 5-ton capacity cold store belonging to the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources.

The Grand Port Project

This project will be financed by a loan (Rs.1 327 000) from the German Government (Credit KFW Stalt). A Fishermen's Centre will be constructed at Mahebourg offering the same facilities as at Tamarin. Presently, an isothermic van of 1-ton capacity is daily collecting fish at Le Bouchon, Point d'Esny, Mahebourg and Ville Noire and storing it at Pointe aux Sables.

The Rodrigues Project

The Federation (MFCF) has plans to open a centre similar to that present at Tamarin in the near future.

Existing-infrastructure

The Federation is presently utilizing five isothermic vans of 1-ton capacity each a 2.5-ton capacity cold store, a 5-ton capacity cold store, and flake ice making machine, eight 6001 capacity commercial type chest freezers and 350 perforated rectangular plastic containers, each having holding capacity of 20kg of fish.

Other items expected in June, September and October 1982

One isothermic van, two 2.5-ton capacity blast freezers (-40°C), one 1-ton capacity blast cold store (-40°C), one 2.5-ton capacity cold store (2°C), one 1-ton capacity freezer (2°C) and four chili cabinets. Most of this equipment will be utilized at the Cap Malheureux and Mahebourg Centres and the municipal markets.

Products marketed by the Federation

Productcs include fresh fish, filleted fish, smoked fish (vacuum packed), scaled and evicerated fish, salted fish, shark meat plus other shark product and fish meal.

List of markets

Markets where fish is sold include:

La Butte (Port Louis), Rose-Hill, Quatre Bornes, Curepipe and Vacoas municipal markets, Flacq, Lallmatie, Abercrombie village fair markets, Mahebourg market, Pointe aux Sable and Mahebourg fish collecting point. La Louise and many other village markets. (Refer to Figure 2)

Every day, one isothermic van takes fish to such villages that are far away from market places. Selling points are occasionally announced on the radio, IV- and in the press.

Price of fish

  Max. price to fisherman:Max.selling price
  (per 1/2 kg)
  Rs Rs
Super Grade A & B 10.00 14.80
Grade I   8.00 10.00
Grade II   6.50   8.00
Grade III   5.20   7.00
Grade IV   3.00   5.00

Until very recently, the selling price of fish was fixed but now there is a system of maximum selling price in order to accommodate the principle of supply and demand and protection of the consumers.

Producers have attempted to obtain a higher price for their products from the Federation but the latter could never satisfy their demands because of several marketing problems such as:-

  1. The Federation itself has problems with its staff regarding their wages and overtime compensations;
  2. Increasing costs of running and maintaining its vehicles, cold stores, freezers, etc.;
  3. Tough competition from the middlemen and their fishmongers who can afford to sell their products at lower rates or even give credits to their customers;
  4. Daily variation of sales;
  5. Cut price competition of frozen white fish (previous price per 1/2kg: Rs.10.50 - actual price per 1/2kg: Rs.6.95);
  6. Inadequate marketing channels; and
  7. Sale stagnation and spoilage of unsold fish.

9. Some factors restraining cooperative fishermen from maintaining or expanding their activities

In the past cooperative societies were given soft loans from the Cooperative Central Bank, but since the economic crisis has become acute, interests on loans have escalated from about 7% to 17%.

They do not benefit tax-free concessions on the purchase of outboard engines, fishing gear and fuel.

Replacements or repairs of their fishing craft, outboard engines and fishing gear have become very costly.

The overall cost of production has gradually escalated while the income has comparatively remained lower. Recruitment to the fishing community is also very low.

10. The price-conscious nature of the consumer, the problems of the Federation and the dissatisfaction and disappointment of the fishermen have jammed the entire machinery in this sector of the fishing industry.

G. MARKETING AND DISTRIBUTION OF FISH BY MIDDLEMEN

Presently there are over one thousand middlemen of different categories, i.e. ranging from those who buy the fishermen's catch and transport the same on their mopeds/motorcycles to those who have their own vehicles, boats, engines, fishing gear and fishermen.

Some middlemen buy their fish either from fishermen or from other middlemen. They sell their commodities to consumers from door to door, in public places, village markets or municipal markets, depending on their financial resources and facilities. This gives a great flexibility of distribution.

The price paid to the fishermen varies within a large price range depending on the extent of involvement between the middlemen and the fishermen. Very often the fishermen are paid partly in kind. The more the middlemen is involved in the enterprise, the less he will pay the fishermen, but no matter how much the fisherman can be involved he always receives less than his due, because of his normal obligations and other commitments vis-a-vis the middlemen (Refer to Table).

Moreover, fishermen receive less money if they bring in their catch very late, because in such circumstances the middlemen will need to store the catch overnight and perhaps incur losses due to fish spoilage.

Other than generally being the owner of craft and gear, the middlemen frequently provide credit to fishermen. This system has led to usurious interest, but is perceived as a necessity by fishermen who cannot provide guarantees required for normal credit facilities.

OWNERSHIP, PARTICIPATION AND RESPONSIBILITY

The above table represents some of the ways the middlemen and the fishermen work together; however, it is to be noted that the former always market the catch landed.

H. IMPORT OF FISH AND FISHERY PRODUCTS

The local fisheries supply only fresh, frozen, and dried and salted fish to the local market. Products such as canned fish, crustaceans and even frozen fish have been imported to supply the increased demand of fish and fish products. The following table gives the quantity and value of fish imported in fresh weight equivalent.

I. FISHERY STATISTICS IN MAURITIUS

Before 1977 data covering only the artisanal fishery were collected by the Fisheries Protection Service by complete enumeration on some specified landing stations only. The remaining landing sites were not covered at all. This did not allow an estimate of total landings, and entailed the use of numerous enumerators.

The Statistical Unit of the Research Division created in 1977 was staffed as follows: one statistical officer, one officer for the processing of the collected data and 8 enumerators for the collection of the primary data.

At the outset the whole island was divided into two strata. The first consisted of those stations which were covered by the Protection Service. The second stratum consisted of the remaining stations. However, this method, too had its shortcomings. During a month the selected stations could be concentrated in one region only and this meant long travelling for some enumerators. Besides the fishery turned out to be non-homogeneous.

As from January 1978, four strata were established and enumerators were allocated specified strata. The data on landings from the lagoon and outside the lagoon were computed separately. This method allowed the fishery to become more homogeneous and reduced the variance.

Every month, the fish landing stations to be covered are selected through the use of random number tables, the probability of selection being weighed in favour of the more important stations through the stratification. Each enumerator is allocated per week a station, where he calls from 12 noon to 6 pm on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and from 6 am to 12 noon on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

The enumerator is issued with a book in which he notes the following data for each landing: the boat's number, number and names of the fishermen, the gear used, the weight of the catch by species. He then transfers these data to a special form and at the end of the month the figures are computed and transferred on to a second form which allows the computation of the catch, fishermen/days and landings of the station on a monthly basis.

These forms are then submitted to the Head Office. From the estimated monthly catches of each station are estimated the monthly stratum total using the number of boats for each stratum.

The system not only allows the computation of the total catch every month for each stratum, it also permits the estimation of the effort of each gear used inside and outside the lagoon.

ORGANISATION AND STAFFING OF THE FISHERIES SECTION, MINISTRY OF AGRICULTURE, FISHERIES AND NATURAL

The basic objective of the Fisheries Section of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Natural Resources is to increase the production of fish and improve the economic efficiency of Mauritian fisheries and social conditions of fishermen.

Its main responsibilities are to:

  1. conduct research and development needed for the localisation and exploitation of these stocks of fish in the waters of Mauritius, its outer islands and in adjacent international waters;
  2. conduct research and assume the necessary extension services for development of both freshwater and marine aquaculture;
  3. advise on practices of processing and marketing of fishery products and
  4. protect, conserve and manage fishery resources for continued production.

THE ALBION FISHERIES RESEARCH CENTRE

The Fisheries Research and Development Division of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries & Natural Resources has a staff of seventeen scientists and technicians engaged in various research projects including the culture of freshwater prawns and finfish, the culture of marine fish, fisheries statistics and processing, fisheries biology, fish stock assessment, fish toxicity, test fishing and gear development.

Before the construction of the Albion Fisheries Research Centre, facilities available for carrying out research and development activities in fisheries were most inadequate. An old fisheries building after modifications served as a small laboratory whilst an experimental freshwater prawn hatchery was built only as a temporary facility. Consequently there was considerable overcrowding and generally poor conditions of work. Added to this the stations were far apart and posed problems of coordination of work.

The decision of the Japanese Government, through the Japan International Cooperation Agency to finance the construction of a Fisheries Research Centre at Albion within the context of fisheries development in Mauritius was thus timely and appropriate. The project value was worth Rs.17 m and included furnishing of equipment to be used in the Centre. Construction of the building was carried out by a local firm on subcontract from a Japanese firm. Construction started in April 1981 and was completed in January 1982.

The Albion Fisheries Research Centre has a total area of 1350m2 and situated close to the lagoon on the West coast of Mauritius. It comprises an administrative block, a laboratory block, workshops, and a multi-purpose hatchery. The administrative block includes three offices, a conference hall, two night duty rooms and an aquarium. The laboratory block consists of a biological, chemical and optical laboratories whilst the working block houses a workshop and machine rooms for generators and pumps. The hatchery has both indoor and outdoor facilities for rearing freshwater and marine species.

The main objective of this Centre is to carry out research and to provide the necessary feedback for the development of fisheries in Mauritius. It forms the nucleus for the formulation, planning, coordination and evaluation of all fisheries research activities in Mauritius.

The Centre can contribute to research conducted on a regional basis, thus stengthening cooperation with other countries in our region. Facilities are also available to hold workshops and seminars on fisheries both at national and international levels.

Credit Facilities for Fishermen

Credit facilities can be made available to professional fishermen (individuals as well as those in Cooperatives) and to those engaged in the bank fishery.

There are two main organisations which cater for these facilities, the Development Bank of Mauritius and the Mauritius Cooperative Central Bank.

The Development Bank of Mauritius

This Bank provides credit facilites to any fishermen who has a registration card of professional fishermen, for the purchase of boats, motors or equipment. The amount provided is 75% of the cost of the project, up to a maximum of Rs.100 000 on the small scale loan programme.

The rates of interest are 10% p.a. for loans up to Rs.25 000, 11% for loans up to Rs.50 000 and 13% for loans up to Rs.100 000. For loans of less than Rs.10 000 it is sufficient to provide a personal guarantee, but for loans above that figure, a guarantee is required on immovables and on the fixed assets (boats, equipment, etc.).

Before any loan is approved, a technical team from the Bank reviews the viability of the project and its commercial advantage to the country.

Loans of more than Rs.100 000 can be granted at interest rates of 14.5%.

Since its creation in 1971, the Bank has accorded credit facilities to 200 projects in Mauritius and 103 projects in Rodrigues under the small scale loan scheme, which is inclusive of fisheries.

The Mauritius Cooperative Central Bank

This Bank provides credit facilities only to those professional fishermen who are grouped in Fishermen's Cooperative Societies and deals directly with the Federation of Fishermen's Cooperative Societies. The Federation decides to whom loans should be granted, the amount of the grant, and its form (whether in kind or in equipment), etc.

The interest rates vary between 6% and 18%. Repayment of loans is done indirectly through deductions from the proceeds of sale of the catch by the fishermen to the Marketing Unit of the Federation. It should be noted that professional fishermen grouped in Cooperatives are required to sell their whole catch to the Federation.

The Bank also provides facilities to Industrial Fishing Projects (distant water fishery). Guarantee for these loans is required on immovables, the vessel, its equipment, etc.

COLD STORAGE FACILITIES

The marketing of fish landed from the banks fishery is done through the main cold storage companies. Their storage capacity is as follows:

Cold Store Storage Capacity
(tonnes)
Location
Happy World Ltd.

400

Port Louis
New Cold Storage

500

Port Louis
ABC

 70

Port Louis
Nazareth Cold Storage

200

Les Pailles, Port Louis

There exist also some other small cold stores and ice plants. These have a capacity of storage of approximately 100t.

The Mauritius Tuna Fishing and Canning Enterprises (MTFC)

The cannery

The cannery started operation in 1973. Raw material for canning was initially obtained from Madagascar. The present source of supply is the purse seiner 'Lady Sushil' together with fish imported from the Maldives. The finished product is principally exported to the EEC market. A small quantity of canned fish is sold locally.

The cannery employs a local labour force of some 250 people, mainly female. The following table indicates some statistics of sales and exports of the factory.

Year Quantity of
fish canned
(t)
Sales (carton)*
Local Exports

1973

2 448

2 712

109 342

1974

2 492

3 600

194 375

1975

3 013

4 418

212 839

1976

2 421

3 940

156 857

1977

2 961

4 261

195 230

1978

3 010

4 632

210 455

1979

3 337

3 125

202 683

1980

3 078

2 392

213 189

1981

3 542

3 253

237 640

*1 carton contains 9.6 kgs of canned fish

THE PURSE SEINER 'LADY SUSHIL'

MTFC made the acquisition of a purse seiner in late 1979. It operates mainly in the Far East and its catch is transhipped to a carrier vessel. Presently the vessel has been authorised to fish in EEZ of the Republic of the Seychelles.

The landings of the vessel are given in the following table.

CRUISE DATE CATCH (t)

1st

December 1979

44

2nd

January 1980

67

3rd

March 1980

518

4th

May 1980

70

1060

5th

August 1980

134

6th

November 1980

271

7th

April 1981

448

8th

July 1981

336

1755

9th

October 1981

496

10th

November 1981

475

11th

January 1982

295

12th

March 1982

540

13th

June 1982

432

TUNA TRANSHIPMENT BASE

The Kaigai Kyogyo Kabushiki Kaisa (KGKK)

The main purpose of the Japanese Company (KGKK) is to direct the transhipment in Port-Louis of tunas caught by Japanese. Taiwanese and Korean longliners for reexport to Japan, Penang, Italy, etc.

Fishing effort, as seen by the number of vessels unloading in Mauritius, increased rapidly until 1972, when there were over 100 vessels working from Port-Louis for a total of over 300 cruises per year. Landings which has reached a peak in 1968, dropped considerably in the following years. Landings in Port-Louis reached very low levels in 1981, but the situation seems to have improved this year.

The table below shows the annual quantity in tonnes of tuna transhipped.

YEAR VESSELS (CALLINGS) TUNA TRANSHIPPED (x 1000t)

1970

199

15

1971

131

12

1972

163

14

1973

167

14

1974

151

10

1975

  6O

  3

1976

  97

  9

1977

148

15

1978

155

14

1979

135

11

1980

  80

  6

1981

  47

 

The New Marine Export has since 1976 been catching marine aquarium fish in the lagoon for export to European countries. The fish are caught by underwater fishermen using small nets, and are kept at the aquarium of the company for acclimatization prior export. A labour force of 35 persons is employed by the company.

Export of marine aquarium fish (units)
1978 - 19,800
1979 - 23,000
1980 - 26,000

Freshwater

Freshwater aquarium fish are imported from Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. These are mainly meant for reexport to Reunion.

  1978 1979 1981
Import 19,000 26,000 47,000
Reexport   8,500 18,000 30,000

Fig. 1. Temperature, sunshine hours and rainfall during the year 1976 to 1979.

FIG 2 MEAN DAILY WINDSPEED (KNOTS) AND TOTAL DAILY EFFORT (MANDAYS) 1978, 1979.

FIG 3 MONTHLY VARIATION IN AIR TEMP. (Mean Daily Maximum and Minimum) WINDSPEED and RAINFALL AVERAGE OF 30 YEARS OBS.

Figure 1

Figure 2