J. D. ARDILL
1. It has been estimated that fish accounts for nearly 40% of the total animal protein consumed in Mauritius (MAFNR, 1983). When orte considers the cultural influence of fish in an inland community, together with the fact that the coastal dwellers and some social or religious groups do not consume meat and derive virtually all their animal protein from fish, the importance of this sector can more properly be gauged.
2. Fish consumption is largely dependent on supply, and has dropped over the last 8 years from nearly 18 kg to 13.7 kg/person. The lowered consumption is largely due to reduced imports of frozen, salted and canned fish, the total foreign exchange expenditure having, however, remained fairly constant (Table 1). It should be noted that the major import component of frozen fish is constituted by frozen tuna destined for canning and re-export. The main items for local consumption are therefore canned fish (sardines, pilchards and mackerel for the most part) as well as dried fish (the traditional items are bomblas and snoek). Imports of crustaceans while negligeable in terms of quantity, have been increasing steadily in value since 1980, possibly to some extent due to increased demand from tourism.
3. The price of fish was regulated by Government between 1977 and 1981. This policy severely handicapped the development of the banks fishery and production dropped. Following deregulation in 1981, prices of frozen fish initially rose rapidly, and the increase in production, from 2,253 t to 4,297 t, resulting from a healthier economic condition in the fishery, led to a glut during 1982, during which stocks built up to a high of 998 t. The market is relatively unsophisticated in Mauritius, the whole fish being eaten; attempts at filleting did not therefore ease the glut, as consumers were not prepared to pay the additional cost of the product. Since that time, the market appears to have become more elastic, as consumers have come to accept frozen fish as a substitute for fresh fish. In 1984 and 1985, stocks rarely accumulated, and no problems of marketing are expected in future.
4. Local production of fish comes from:
To these can be added a small export trade in aquarium fish and an important sports fishery, neither of which will be discussed further as their role in food production is non-existent in the one case and integrated into artisanal fishery production in the other. Total fish production in 1984 was estimated at 10,750 t, of which 1,375 t came from the small saale fisheries, 3,077 t from the banks, 4,125 t from the industrial tuna fishery and the balance from Rodrigues, sports fishery and aquaculture.
5. Port Louis harbour is also the base for a tuna transhipment operation operated mainly by Japanese companies (Kaigai Gyogyo Kabushiki Kaisha, Mitsubishi) purchasing tuna for canning from Taiwan, province of China, and Southern Korean longliners. Part of the by-catch of these vessels is marketed locally, but escapes both production and customs statistics. Although contributing substantially to foreign exchange earnings, the tuna transhipment earnings do not figure either in landing or balance of trade statistics.
6. The catch from the artisanal fishery is marketed round, only large fish being sliced for sale. Because of the high cost of ice and a traditional mistrust of consumers for iced fish, chilling is only resorted to as a last resort to prevent spoilage in times of glut. About 10% of the catch is marketed by a cooperative (MFCF-Mauritius Fisheries Cooperative Federation), the rest being sold, mainly in stalls in the municipal markets, by fishmongers (The "banians" have an important secondary role as owners of the fishing craft and gear and as money-lenders).
7. The catch of the banks fishery is marketed frozen, gutted and gilled but otherwise whole. The total cold storage capacity is of 1,670 tons (5,134 m3) but the largest recorded stock at any one time was 1,000 tons (1982). The cold storage companies distribute a small amount of fish through stalls in the municipal markets, but most of the frozen fish is distributed through retail shops which have chest freezer cabinets for the sale of frozen produce.
8. Salted and dried fish and dried octopus are produced for the Mauritius market in Rodrigues and St. Brandon. This produce is sold through normal retail outlets.
9. The highest employment at the production level is in the artisanal fishery (Table 2). The number of registered fishermen appears to be increasing steadily, more rapidly in the lagoon than in the off-lagoon (shelf) fisheries. Similarly, this sector has the highest employment in marketing, with over 700 fishmongers registered in the late 1970's.
10. No precise figures are available for employment in the industrial fisheries which have been fluctuating heavily, but it is likely in 1985 that some 450-500 persons were employed at the production level. At the distribution level, fish being only one of many frozen products handled, it is not possible to make any estimate of employment.
11. Although imports of fish are substantially higher than exports, the value of the latter - 90% canned tuna and 10% high value fish exports to Reunion - are such that the balance of trade has been increasingly positive since 1985 (Table 3). The trend is for decreased imports, at a fairly stable value and increased exports. Import restrictions may have partly accounted for the lower quantities imported, but it should be noted that 1983 also corresponds to the period when the tuna seiner operated by MTFC (Mauritius Tuna Fishing & Canning Enterprises Ltd.) attained a subtantial production level, reducing the dependence of the cannery on imported raw material.
12. Official statistics place give the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at factor cost of the fisheries sub-sector at Rs 60 million in 1984. This in fact was rather an under-estimate as the figures of the lagoon and banks fisheries attained Rs 75 million. If acount was taken of the tuna fisheries, Rodriguez fish production and aquaculture, an estimate of the GDP would exceed Rs 150 million. In 1985 with the value of the banks fishery alone at Rs 69 million, the GDP should exceed Rs 200 million.
13. The artisanal fishery exploits the lagoon area within the barrier reef surrounding the islands of Mauritius and Rodriguez and the area of shelf outside the reef down to the 200 m isobath. The respective areas of shelf are 1,020 km, including 400 km of lagoon for Mauritius, and 1,380 km for Rodriguez (Table 4)D.
14. The fishing gears in use are, in order of importance, handlines, basket traps, drag seines and gill nets. The effort, as measured by the number of registered fishermen, has been expanding regularly for Mauritius (Table 2) the number of fishermen in Rodriguez is estimated at 700-1000 mostly part-time.) The apparent increase in effort is not borne out, however, by statistical records of CPUE as measured by the number of fisherman/days (Table 5) which show a substantial reduction of effort with stable catch per unit effort (CPUE) for the lagoon, and fluctuating effort with a reduction in CPUE for the shelf fishery. Over the period, the number of boats and in particular of the small outboard and sail powered boats has increased significantly (Table 6).
15. The landings of the artisanal fishery (Table 5) dropped from an estimated long-term average of 2,100 tonnes to 1,054 tonnes in 1982 when the catch per man-day in the lagoon fishery was extremely low. It has stabilized at about 1,350 tonnes for the last three years.
16. The catch per fisherman/day in the lagoon has somewhat recovered from the very low yields between 1980 and 1982, and the reduction in total landings may largely be attributed to reduced activity on the part of professional fishermen. It should however be remembered that the lagoon is exploited on a leisure or part-time basis by a large part of the population (estimated at 65,000 by Moal in 1974). The resources can only be classed as over-exploited and in great need of management. Ecological damage from the removal of sand for building aggregates (several hundred thousand tonnes) and of coral for lime (estimated at 5,000 tons in 1982) may further reduce lagoon yields, as well as presenting a serious risk for the tourist industry in leading to beach erosion and lagoon floor devoid of animal or plant life.
17. The catch per man-day outside the reef has dropped regularly since 1978 when separate records were first kept. This may be due to a change in fishing pattern rather than to a general over-exploitation of stocks: more effort is applied to the shallower waters where groupers, preferred for export, predominate, less fishing being done on the deeper watet snapper stocks.
18. No precise statistics exist for Rodrigues artisanal production. The only available estimates came from consumption surveys and have led to a projected production of about 1,900 tons/year (Moal 1974), corresponding to a yearly per capita consumption of 60 kg. The fairly extensive shelf is only very slightly exploited but, as over 50% of the fish species exploited in this area are potentially ciguatoxic, the projected increase in production would be only about 250 tons (Tarbit, 1978).
19. The only potential for expanded production of the artisanal fisheries of the island of Mauritius lie in the exploitation of large pelagic fish (tunas, marlins, sword fish) concentrated by Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), of deepwater shrimp (Heteocarus laevigatus exists in exploitable concentrations at depths of 700-1,000 m) and snapper. An FAO project (MAR/83/006) is test-fishing for pelagics and should provide an idea of the investment potential within orte year. A proposed extension of this project should test the feasibility of exploiting the deepwater resources, permit preliminary assessment of stocks and indicate the investment potential.
20. The Banks of the Mascarene Ridge (Figure 1) have been exploited sporadically in historical times for the production of salt fish by trading schooners sailing between Seychelles and Mauritius. This exploitation became more regular as from 1937 when a settlement of fishermen was established on the Cargados Carajos Group (St. Brandon), but it was only in 1960 and 1962 that the first attempts were made to produce frozen fish for the Mauritian market. This venture was commercially unsuccessful because of consumer resistance to a new product, competition from relatively abundant fresh fish and from cheap frozen fish imported from South Africa and also due to lack of marketing infrastructure.
21. Regular supply of frozen fish from this source, therefore, date from 1966. Eleven years later, eight vessels were engaged in the fishery, including two chartered from Korea (Table 7), but within two years the number of vessels had declined to three. This was attributed to "inexperienced company management, use of second hand vessels as mother ships, a profit squeeze (due to price control by Government), insufficient Government support to the industry, and inexperienced union leadership" (Wijkshom U.N. & T. Kroepelien, 1979). As of 1981, the policy of price fixing was abandoned. This led to an immediate rise in the price of frozen fish, improving profitability leading to re-investment in vessels. The rapid increase in landings caused a temporary glut of fish in 1982, with cold storage stocks of nearly 1000 tons. Prices dropped in 1982 and 1983, but by 1985 when production had increased significantly, frozen fish appeared to be generally accepted by consumers as a substitute for fresh fish and stocks and consumption appeared balanced (Table 8). In 1984, grant aid from Japan (JlCA) provided a fishing harbour with quay space and sorting sheds (US$ 5 million project value) which helped remove one of the major constraints to the fishery as identified by Wijkstrom.
22. There has been essentially no change in the methods of exploitation of the banks since the start of the fishery. One species, Lethrinus mahsena (= L. enigmaticus = L. crocineus) represents 90% of the catch. The fishery is on the coralline areas of the banks at depths of up to 40 m. Each mothership (these vessels range in size from 30 to 70 m) carries a number of dories from which 3-4 fishermen fish with handlines (detailed descriptions are given by Samboo, 1983 and Wijkstrom et. al 1979). The catch is gutted and gilled, being frozen and stored on the mothership.
23. From 1970 to 1973 attempts were made to use other gears in this fishery, including bottom set longlines, gill nets and basket traps. None of the methods proved suitable for commercial application. The area exploited being too rough for bottom trawls, it is likely that only marginal improvements could be effected to fishing techniques at a fairly high cost and to the detriment of employment.
24. The fluctuating effort applied by the Mauritian fishing fleet on Saya de Malha Bank (Table 10) having affected the catch of the single vessel from Reunion exploiting that bank, a cooperative stock assessment exercise was carried out by IFREMER (Reunion) and AFRC (Mauritius), suggesting a Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY) of 1,800 t (Anon, 1985, Draft). According to the model used, an increase in fishing effort of 50% would result in equilibrium yields being reduced by 30%, whereas a 25% reduction of effort would reduce yields by only 7%.
As can be seen above, the combined catch of Mauritius and Reunion has equalled or exceeded MSY since 1982. A reduction in the size of the individual fish captured is already reported and continued exploitation at these levels is likely to lead to reduced catches.
25. The exploitation of Nazareth Bank has, up to date, been at a rather lower and more constant level (Table 9). As yields drop on Saya de Malha, an increase in effort will most probably be applied on this bank. In view of the plan to increase the fleet to 15 vessels in 1986, urgent measures should be taken to assess the stocks on the other banks accessible to the mothership/handline fishery and to take appropriate management measures for the banks within the Mauritian EEZ and, in coordination with neighbouring countries, for those banks in international waters.
26. A number of resource surveys have established the presence of small pelagic stocks on the banks. A fleet of trawlers from USSR has been exploiting this stock on Saya de Malha for a number of years but neither catch rates nor total catch figures are available (estimates of catch range from 10 to 20,000 t/year; Gulland 1978). Using catch rates attained during research vessel cruises (in commercial operation higher yields would be expected), it appears (Guidicelli 1985) that although a new trawler would not be economic in this fishery, a second hand vessel would have an internal rate of return of between 11% and 47%, depending on the catch rates attained. Small quantities of high value fish in the by-catch (mainly Sparidae) have not been taken into account.
27. At this time, no reliable estimates of stock abundance exist, but it would appear from available evidence that the stock on either Nazareth or Saya de Malha would be more than sufficient to cover the 2,400 t of canned small pelagic fish at present imported.
28. There is some doubt whether a market exists in Mauritius for frozen scad as in the past even fresh scad has not sold readily, and the high quality emperors from the banks handline fishery are only now becoming established. Canned small pelagics (sardines, pilchards and mackerel) are however an important source of food, in particular for the poorer groups of the population, because of low cost and as there is no requirement for cooking (energy, oil, condiments). A canning factory - United Processing and Canning Ltd. - has been operating for one year, importing 1,000-1,500 t of frozen headed, gutted, tailless sardines, pilchards and mackerel. This canning line could, at present capacity, satisfy about half the local requirement for this product, and has the capacity to can 4,000 t/year at full production. It is therefore interested in exporting its products but would not be permitted to do so by Government until the local market is fully satisfied. The supply of 1,500t of raw material to UPC would therefore save about Rs 14 million in foreign currency while the full substitution of imports would save about Rs 40 million. Full supply of the cannery requirements could be expected to generate foreign currency earnings. Alternative local markets for frozen scad may possibly exist for direct consumption or for bait for the longline fishery, but these markets require testing. Finally, some fishmeal - in demand for animal feed - would be produced from fish wastes and may be used to upgrade the fishmeal, which is too rich in calcium and oil, produced from the wastes of the tuna cannery.
29. There is thus a priority need to establish the economic feasibility of fishing for small pelagics and marketing the produce in order to prepare investment projects and develop the fishery. There is no tradition of trawling in Mauritius, and the private sector would need to have the feasibility demonstrated prior to investment.
30. In view of the limited potential for fishery development in Mauritius, aquaculture has long been seen as a means of producing fish. Early development dates to French occupancy of the island prior to 1810 when 22 enclosures were made of sea inlets. Known locally as "barachois", these enclosures have a dry-stone seawall and vary in size from 0.6 to 51 ha, for a total of 302.6 ha.
31. The original purpose of the "barachois" may well have been as fish reserves rather than to culture fish. Despite considerable research effort, problems ranging from theft to inadequate (or excessive) water exchange with the sea, salinity fluctuations and entry of predators have kept production at non-economic levels. Present production from barachois is estimated at about 11 t annually or 36 kg/ha, little more than the average production of the lagoon.
32. In fresh water, early attempts of aquaculture were no more successful, having consisted in little more than a long list of introductions of exotic species, including the "Gourami" (Osphoremus goramy), black bass (Micropterus sp.) gold fish (Carassius auratus) bluegill (Lepomis macroshirus) and various tilapias. Most of these have virtually disappeared under the competition of the tilapias which are largely hybridized and have spread into virtually all inland waters.
33. It is only with the introduction of the giant fresh water prawn Macrobrachium rosenbergii (known locally as the camaron) into Mauritius in 1972 that aquaculture has become a commercially viable industry. After early experimentation of the reproductive and growing out techniques by the Ministry of Fisheries, the private sector in 1978 built a large scale hatchery (Camarons Hatchery Co. Ltd.) with annual production capacity of 6 million juvenile prawns. This hatchery to date is producing 2.3 million juveniles annually (at a unit cost of Rs.0.80) of which 140,000 are exported to Reunion and Malawi for trial rearing, the balance going to stock 17 ha of ponds belonging mainly to sugar estates. Production from these ponds averages 1.5 t/ha for a total annual production of 25 t. However, yields of 2.5 t/ha have been attained through good management practices. Specially formulated feed is produced locally by the Livestock Feed Factory.
34. A new company has been set up for camaron rearing: the Camaron Production Co. Ltd. This company will operate 19 ha. of ponds (actually nearing completion) at Le Vallon for a projected production by 1988 of 70 t. The product will be marketed both fresh and quick-frozen (on site) at a producer price of Rs.130/kg. Export markets in Reunion and France have been investigated and should provide an outlet for the produce when the local market is satisfied. Total project cost is Rs.16 million of which Rs.10 million is to come from a line of credit established by the Caisse Centrale de Cooperation Economique (CCCE) through the Development Bank of Mauritius).
35. Leval Ltd. is also proposing to increase its grow-out ponds from 1.5 ha (1984) to 8.9 ha, so that total camaron production, assuming good management of all ponds, could attain 100-120 t/year by 1988 for a value of Rs.15.6 million.
36. Six species of Indian and Chinese major carp were introduced in 1975 and 1976 with a view to polyculture. All have been bred successfully by induced breeding techniques. Seed of these carp are currently produced at the "La Ferme" fish farm operated by the Ministry (29 ponds totalling 4.2 ha. of wetted surface). They are supplied free to the public, the supplement being stocked into irrigation reservoirs.
37. Present production of carp is between 5 and 10 tonnes/year. There is no tradition of eating carp in Mauritius and the presence of pin-bones in these species limits their attractiveness to consumers. Carps are thus seen as a low cost alternative to frozen banks fish, which limits their attractiveness for culture. A large part of the production therefore comes from the use of grass carp to limit the growth of algae and water weeds in camaron ponds. To date only experimental gill netting has been carried out in the reservoirs: primary productivity - and therefore stocks - are rather low in these areas so that the fish are only accessible to fishing gear when the reservoirs are partly empty.
38. A proposal has been made for integrated farming of ducks or pigs with carp. This has attracted some support from IFS (The International Foundation for Science) and will be submitted shortly to China for funding and technical support. This sytem could be improved through the use of bio-digestion of the animal/poultry effluents, both from the technical (reduced biological oxygen demand) and cultural standpoints. A possibility exists to use high-test molasses as feed for the animals. Cane from upland regions which is poor in sucrose content could be used but would have to be trucked down to the fish ponds, as temperatures are low on the Central Plateau for fish culture and bio-digestion. However, the availability of large tracts of land which is relatively flat, has few stones and a good water supply is extremely limited, and the main potential for development may be for small family ponds.
39. Following succesful breeding of marine shrimp (Penaeus monodon and M. monoceros) with the assistance of a Japanese expert at Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC), a proposal has been made for a large scale feasibility study of marine shrimp culture. To be funded by JICA over two years (1986-1988), this project will cost US$ 5 million and provide for a technical office building, hatchery facility and growing out facility to be located near the AFRC at Albion. Subsequently, technical assistance will be provided for operating these facilities and training extension service staff.
40. A preliminary assessment of the area available for shrimp farming development is:
|Area||Production/6 mo.(t)||Yearly Production (t)|
The maximum projected production is about twice the estimated demand for crustaceans by 1990, so that taking into account the production of camarons and the catch of spiny lobsters, an exportable surplus of 600-700t could generate US$ 6-7 million at present prices. Costs of production are estimated at US$ 6-7/kg, largely in local currency, so that, at a wholesale price of US$ 10/kg for 40g shrimp, the industry should result in yearly profits of US$ 3-4 million.
41. Considerable research has gone into research on oyster culture, both of the local oyster (Crassostrea cuculata) spat collection and growout systems and of imported culch-free spat (C. gigas, C. virginica and O. edulis.) Low growth rates of the local oysters and high mortality of the imported species attributed to the low nutrient supplies of lagoon and barachois water have limited further development. In view of the depletion of natural oyster beds and increased demand for oysters through the tourist industry, limited trials could be made of culture of local oyster in the effluent of pump-supplied shrimp culture facilities.
42. Port Louis is the base for transhipment of tuna caught by Taiwan, (province of China), vessels. Kaigai Gyogyo K.K. (Mitsubishi) operates two cold stores (operational since 1964 and 1967) of 700 and 800 tonnes capacity. Tuna Export Services (Taiyo) operates one cold store. Landings peaked at over 30,000 tonnes in 1967 but have dropped regularly since then, initially due to reduced yields from the fishery and subsequently due to the change of emphasis of Koreans and Japanese from producing fish for canning (with effort concentrated for part of the year on albacore) to the sashimi market (target species being bieye and yellowfin).
Cold storage temperatures in existing installations in Mauritius are inadequate for sashimi fish (which need -45 C) and the products are either transhipped elsewhere -Seychelles and Reunion - or are transported to Japan without transhipment. With increased competition from surface tuna fisheries, it is doubtful whether transhipment for canning will persist much longer.
43. This company, which is a joint venture between Mauritian and Japanese interests, started production in 1976 with a canning line capable of producing 8,000 tonnes of raw material per year at full capacity. It rents from a local company a cold store having 750 tonnes capacity. In practice, the cannery throughput has varied from 4,000 to 6,000 tonnes.
44. Until 1980, other than for a short period when the company operated a longliner, the cannery depended on imported fish (from Madagascar, Ghana and now from Maldives), concentrating on skipjack tuna for the U.K. market. Table 10 gives the production and sales of canned tuna and fishmeal. Since 1979, part of the fish has come from a purse seine vesel owned and operated by the company. For the first three years of operation (Table 11), as the vessel prospected the area, the catch was insufficient to attain profits. Since 1983, however, the "Lady Sushil" has provided over half the tuna processed by the company, imports of fish from Maldives having dropped significantly.
45. The performance of the "Lady Sushil" should be seen in the context of the explosive development of the tuna purse seine fishery based on Seychelles.
Using a technique of fishing around drifting FADs (located by means of a radio-beacon), this vessel has equalled or bettered the production of French and Spanish seiners some of which are twice as large and incur considerably higher financial and operating costs (fuel, maintenance, crew transfer). It is doubtful with present tuna prices around US$ 600/tonne whether even this highly efficient vessel is profitable. About 12 French and Ivorian vessels have dropped out of the fishery in the last 6 months and prices will have to rise if the whole industry is not to founder.
46. Some concern has been expressed as to the state of the resource. This question has been discussed in a number of expert consultations (Jakarta, Indonesia 1984, Mombasa, Kenya 1984, Colombo, Sri Lanka 1985) and the consensus of opinion, despite the lack of long-term statistics which would permit the use of population dynamics models, is that skipjack stocks are still lightly exploited and that there is no cause for immediate concern as to the state of yellowfin (and bigeye) stocks. Mechanisms for data compilation (the FAO/UNDP/Japan Trust Fund Indo-Pacific Programme) and the discussion of management measures (the Committee on Indian Ocean and Indo-Pacific Tunas of the Indian Ocean Fishery Commission) already exist and are attracting support from riparian and distant water fishing nations.
47. The cannery reported a drop of selling price over three years from US$ 50 to under US$ 30 per case of canned tuna. While this drop also resulted in a reduction in the price paid for raw material, in a situation where fish accounts for 60% of costs, tins for 15%, labour for 5% and freight for 5% (oil and electricity being paid from the remainder), this leaves little margin for variation of prices. The fish from the "Lady Sushil" and some brought from Seychelles conforming to rules of origin for entry into the EEC and that from Maldives qualifying under derogation, the cannery has a competitive advantage on producers outside the EEC/ACP context which have to pay 24% duty to sell in the EEC. The vertical integration of MTFC - fishing and canning - has also undoubtedly helped the company to survive where a company only fishing or only canning would have faced considerable difficulties. Any fresh investment in the sector should therefore not be envisaged if it does not benefit from this integration and the technology acquired in the fishery. Within that context, however, an investment in increased catching and improved processing capacities could be envisaged in anticipation of reduced production by competitions and better tuna prices.
48. Mauritius, Madagascar and Comoros are finalizing details of participation in a regional test-fishing project for tuna, aimed at a rather lower and more accessible technological and investment levels than the industrial oceanic tuna seining which can only be envisaged in a joint venture context. This project will be financed by the European Development Fund, and will have a project value of about 7.6 million ECU. The project will also prospect new fishing grounds and engage in data collection and stock assessment, the Seychelles also participating in this element. It is planned initially to concentrate test-fishing activities in the West Madagascar/Comoros region where a successful livebait pole-and-line fishery has operated in the past. In view of the fact that field activities in that region are not due to start before mid-1987, no early prospects for investment are likely to arise for Mauritius in the immediate future.
49. The project has (temporarily?) abandoned plans to create a "common interest grouping" intended to address itself to management and surveillance of the tuna fishery. Although not contributing directly to increased production, the generation of income from licencing and the management of the tuna fishery to sustain long-term yields are still priority fields.
50. The principal responsibility for fisheries in Mauritius lies with the MAFNR. Fisheries are under the responsibility of a Principal Assistant Secretary who reports to the Principal Secretary and Minister. Fish quality control and inspection are entrusted to the Ministry of Health. The Ministry of Cooperatives has a fairly direct hand in the administration of the Mauritius Fishermen's Cooperative Federation. All aspects of fisheries in Rodriguez island are under the Ministry of Rodriguez whose role, however, is limited to the application of the fisheries laws and regulations and to the administration of a rather inactive cooperative.
51. The structure of the fisheries technical services is inherited from the time when these were a Division of the Department of Agriculture, prior to the creation of an independent Ministry. They are divided into the Fisheries Protection Service, responsible for the implementation of legislation relating to nearshore fisheries, with a staff of 201 officers, mainly in junior grades, and the Fisheries Research and Development Division (FRDD). The latter is responsible for research, collects fishery statistics and has assumed de facto responsibility for management advice, policy advice and development.
52. The structure and legal power of the FRDD is not well adapted to the latter roles. Empowerment for EEZ management is at present with the Prime Minister, and the FRDD lacks the specialized staff (economist, financial and business economist, gear technologist and fishery scientist) to effectively manage industrial fisheries. Proposals were therefore made to create a Fisheries Authority or to create a Fisheries Management and Development Division within the Ministry (Christy L. and Greboval D., 1985).
53. The FRDD has been extremely successful in attracting foreign aid, current among which can be cited the Albion Fisheries Research Centre (AFRC), the La Ferme Fish Farm, the 'Formation Itinerante des Pecheurs' (FIP), the EDF Regional Tuna Project (including one ORSTOM scientist; this team may shortly be expanded to 3 expatriates), the FAO project on Advanced Artisanal Pelagic Fishing (MAR/83/006) and the JICA project on Marine Shrimp Culture. In all, 16 research projects are undertaken by this division (Sanders, 1986a) and staffing, as well as local operating budgets (Rs. 13 million), are rapidly proving inadequate.
54. In this context, a proposal was made to create a Marine Resources Research Centre based at AFRC. This centre was described in the White Paper on the Development of Fisheries and Non-Living Marine Resources of September 1985 as "improving the utilization of the marine resources currently being exploited and to identify these resources that might be exploited in the near future".
55. Assistance was requested of FAO through the Regional Project for the Development and Management of Fisheries in the Southwest Indian Ocean (SWIOP) to advise on these institutional aspects. The consultant entrusted with the study concluded that the creation neither of a Fisheries Authority, nor of a Marine Resources Research Centre were justified (Sanders 1986b). The treasury remaining the major source of finance, the creation of an authority and/or a research centre would involve increased expenditure and would not add research or management capability. It would, however, in divorcing research and development activities, in removing from the Ministry direct access to scientific advice and in shared control with other ministries (Prime Minister, Ministry of Power, Fuel and Energy, Ministry of Communications) diminish the MAFNRs' ability to perform its other functions. It was suggested that a better organizational structure would be that of a Fisheries Department in which research, management and development would be united under a single command (Fig. 2). It was also suggested that the proposed Marine Nature Reserve Board whose creation was referred to in the White Paper for a National Conservation Strategy, 1 July 1985, should also be linked to the fisheries department. The necessary legislative proposals have been made by Christy (1986) who has prepared draft offshore and Foreign Fishing Regulations to replace the Maritime Zones Act of 1977.
56. In order to fulfill all the responsibilities attributed to a fisheries department, and in particular those to which Mauritius has contracted to through aid programmes, the technical staff would have to be expanded by 23 to a total of 389. In particular, two new posts of Divisional Scientific Officer would have to be created to lead the new divisions dealing with Stock Assessment/Environment, Aquaculture and Management/Development, as well as a post of Principal Fisheries Officer. The consultant recommended that this latter post should be filled initially by an expatriate, as no person is known in Mauritius at present having the experience needed to organize and lead such a new organization. it is probable, even in this case, that a number of the consultancies identified by Christy and Greboval in the context of the Creation of a Fisheries Authority would still be needed.
57. Credit is easily available for artisanal fisheries through the Mauritius Development Bank "Small Scale Industries Financing Scheme" and "Small Entrepreneur Financing Scheme". The first scheme has a ceiling of Rs. 200,000 and a rate of interest of 11%. The second has a ceiling of Rs. 50,00, 20% is a grant, and 8% interest is payable on the remainder. Under these two schemes 533 loans totalling Rs. 6.8 million have been issued since 1971 (Schoemaker, 1986).
58. The Mauritius Cooperative Central Bank provides loans to the Fishermen's Cooperative Federation (MFCF). The MFCF has got a loan of Rs. 320,000 carrying 13.5% interest and Rs. 100,000 overdraft carrying 15.5%. Comparison with agricultural loans at 10% interest indicates a bad credit rating for the MFCF.
59. The Association des Peches Professionnels de l'Ile Maurice (APPIM) is a non-governmental organization (NGO) providing loans to fishermen to purchase boats and gear. More than 600 projects have been financed to date, totalling over Rs. 2 million. Few loans are given, however, for more costly offshore fisheries development projects.
60. Improvement of credit to fisheries could therefore come mainly from an insurance scheme to cover accidental loss of boats and gear, mainly in cyclones, and more involvement of the Ministry of Fisheries. This involvement is particularly necessary in assessing the technical and economic viability of each scheme as well as the record (as a fisherman) of the person applying for a loan. Costly defaults might then be avoided and loan conditions returned to those current in agriculture.
61. This federation had as original objective to market the catch of artisanal fishermen. In order to fill this role, it has been given, through French bilateral assistance, two "Maisons des Pecheurs" (plus one in Rodrigues) equipped with ice makers and cold stores, plus isothermic vehicles to collect the fish and take it to stalls in the municipal markets after sorting. France also provides an expatriate adviser covering both Mauritius and Rodrigues. It was found, early in the operation, that on account of the present conditions where fish dealers also own boats and gear, a loan scheme had to be associated with the marketing operation in order for fishermen to be free to seli their produce to the cooperative.
62. The MFCF now has a membership corresponding to over 30% of the artisanal fishermen of the island. It handles, however, only 10% of the fish landed, and is facing constant financial problems. The roots of its difficulties are thought to be in:
63. Although no training as fishermen is provided for youths entering the fishery - there is little recruitment and apprenticeship may still be the most efficient way of handling intakes - the 'Formation Itinerante des Pecheurs (FIP) has been set up with FAC financing to cater to the needs of adult fishermen. An expatriate expert has to date trained four Mauritian extension agents (including two from Rodrigues) in all basic disciplines dealing with fisheries, and training of fishermen has begun satisfactorily. The school is provided with vehicles fully equipped for demonstration (including audio-visual aids), as well as boats (one in Mauritius and one still to be built for Rodrigues), equally welt equipped for fishing and navigational training. Basic fishing techniques, as well as any new techniques developed through the advanced artisanal fisheries development project, can be demonstrated to fishermen. Close coordination should therefore be maintained within the proposed new fisheries department to ensure that technological developments are carried over to fishermen through the FIP. This coordination could also be extended to loan schemes which could be made conditional on the detention by the loanee of certificates of competence relating to the type of loan requested (engine maintenance, seamanship, coastal navigation).
64. At the level of industrial fisheries, no real need is apparent at present to provide officer training. Seaman's training is provided in the Marine Authority's Sea Training School for seamen sailing on local fishing vessels. At the officer level, the industrial vessels are staffed more in line with marine navigation than fisheries requirements. This does not present a problem in view of the present nature of the fishery, but if a trawl fishery were to develop and an extension take place in the purse seine fishery, it may be wise to envisage training a cadre of officers in the EDF/FAC financed regional Ecole Nationale d'Enseignement Maritime at Mahajanga in Madagascar which provides both deck officer (Lientenant de Peche) and engineer training (Madagascar and Seychelles are members of the project, but Mauritian membership should pose no pratical problems).
65. The rather disordered development of fisheries to date in Mauritius can largely be attributed to the lack of a strong fisheries administration, with responsibilities for fisheries matters divided between different ministries and with little or no coordination between ministries, with industry and with financing institutions. That Government is aware of the fact is illustrated by its examination and rejection of the proposals to create a Fishing Authority and Marine Resources Research Centre in view of creating a Fisheries Department.
66. The first step in rational development of fisheries must be the creation, reorganization and adequate staffing of the Fisheries Department as well as the passing of legislation empowering the Minister to plan, licence, control and administer foreign fishing. Implicit in this will be a revision of the Fisheries Act.
67. The Fisheries Advisory Board should be reactivated as a coodinating body between government ministries, credit agencies and the fishing industry. While having no binding powers, this body should facilitate policy coordination and the flow of information between the sectors represented.
68. Credit agencies have no specialist fisheries expertise; in the past, this has frequently led to credit being provided for schemes which were not viable, with the result that loans were not refunded. The failures have led to a reluctance to support fisheries projects, and in some cases to higher interest rates being applied. These agencies should therefore be invited to consult the fisheries department prior to providing loans for fisheries, projects.
69. Cooperatives being one of the main channels of credit to fishermen, as well as having an extension or trianing role, the work started under French techical assistance to restructure the MCCF should be pursued through a fundamental reorganization involving:
70. The heavy over-exploitation of lagoon resources by professional fishermen and for pleasure use can only be improved marginally by repressive means, e.g. by applying legislation on minimum sizes of fish captured. The expenditure on fisheries protection is probably at this stage considerably higher than any benefits which might come from this activity, and could be diverted partly into the proposals to create Marine Parks. These, together with research into and regulation of the extraction of sand and corals are urgent environmental considerations.
71. It is too early to assess the results of the FAO project MAR/83/006 "Development of Advanced Pelagic Artisanal Fisheries". In view of the delays incurred in the early part of the implementation of this project, it would however, be desirable to extend it so that at least one complete year's fishing is covered. The proposed extension component of this project would more profibaly be taken over by the Formation Itinerante des Pecheurs, allowing the FAO project to concentrate on its work of research and development.
72. Deep water crustaceans and snappers being the only remaining known resources accessible to artisanal fisheries, it would be highly desirable to prospect fishing areas, develop appropriate gear and assess stocks in order to permit formulation of investment projects.
73. The effort in this fishery is no longer likely to be limited by marketing constraints. In view of the probable over-exploitation of stocks, priority action should be taken:
Only when the fishing effort has stablilized at reasonable levels can any improvements in vessels and gear be envisaged to upgrade the economic efficiency of the fishery. At that stage, credit may be needed by the enterprises exploiting the banks. The economic performance of the fishery may, however, be improved immediately by better adapted stevedoring practices.
74. This proposed fishery represents the only option to Mauritius to return consumption of fish to 1977 levels and to cater to population increases. Trial fishing and marketing studies are thus urgent priorities.
75. The performance of MTFC in canning tuna and in mastering the industrial purse seine techniques in the Western Indian Ocean indicates, in anticipation of future price increases for canned tuna, a clear potential for investment in increased catching capacity and in rejuvenated and increased canning capacity.
76. Mauritius is probably too marginally placed with respect to tuna stocks to benefit directly from medium scale fisheries to be developed by the EDF regional project. Benefits will however come from:
77. Mauritius should therefore support regional tuna activities of FAO and of EEC while taking due account of costs and benefits, and pursue activities to ensure licencing of foreign fishing vessels (legislation, negotiation with EEC and distant water fishing nations, consideration of a regional surveillance and control organization). In the EDF tuna project, it is essential that processing of statistical data be done in Mauritius. In this way, Mauritius will have the raw data on vessel movements and catches on which licence agreements can be negociated. Research into stock distribution, particularly tagging, should be carried out throughout the region in order that tuna stocks should be identified for management purposes.
78. The development of camaron (Macrobrachium) culture is proceeding satisfactorily and apears to be limited in scope mainly by suitable land/water resources for large scale projects (rearing this species in small individual ponds has not to date appeared promising due to inadequate management and high mortality of prawns). Export markets may have to be prospected for eventual excess production.
79. Carp farming may provide a potential for small scale integrated culture with ducks or pigs. This technology, however, still needs testing. At present, prices and consumer acceptability may be a constraint to carp production.
80. Marine shrimp culture appears to offer prospects for a major industrial development. Culture technology still has to be tested under local conditions by the JICA pilot project at Albion, which is likely to take 4-5 years. It may be possible to envisage oyster culture for local consumption in enriched effluent from shrimps ponds supplied with pumped water.
|Fresh, chilled, etc.||75||3.2||(............... included in crustacean dried and other ..................)|
|0-35||35-100 m||100-200 m||total (a)||200-400||0-20 m
(+ St. Brandon)
|Saya de Malha||1,050||11,000||24,605||9,173||44,778|
|Year||Fishermen/Days||Catch (kg)||Catch per Fishermen day||Total
|Year||Lagoon||Off Lagoon||Lagoon||Off Lagoon||Lagoon||Off Lagoon|
|....... (kg) .........|
|No. of||Price (Frozen)||Total Landings||Value|
|Year||Vessels||Ex quay||Consumer||Catch||Frozen||Rs. X 106|
|...... (Rs.) .....||(t)|
|1975||7 + 2 1/||4.70||5.80||3,166||3,166||11.6|
|1976||7 + 2||6.20||7.60||2,712||2,712||10.8|
|1977||7 + 2||7.80||9.60||4,373||3,835||21.2|
|1978||7 + 2||10.80||13.30||3,798||3,390||32.4|
|1982||7 + 2||12.50||15.50||4,297||3,793||46.6|
|Canned Fish (including chunks,|
|flakes and pet food)||2,393||2,808||3,458|
|Canned Fish (including chunks|
|flakes and pet food)||2,251||2,483||3,646|
|Canned Fish (including chunks,|
|flakes and pet food)||58||81||81|
ANON 1984 Report of Workshop on Tuna Fisheries Management and Development in the Southwest Indian Ocean, Mombasa, Kenya 12-13 November 1984, FAO Fisheries Report FIP/R324
ANON 1984 Report on the ad hoc workshop on the stock assessment of tuna in the Indo-Pacific region. Colombo, Indo-Pacific Tuna Development and Management Programme. (IPTP/84/GEN/6)
ANON 1985 Draft (IFREMER/AFRC)
ANON 1985 Report on the expert consultation on the stock assessment of tunas in the Indian Ocean. 28 November - 2 December 1985. Colombo, Indo-Pacific Tuna Development and Management Programme. (IPTP/85/GEN/9)
CHRISTY L. and GREBOVAL D., 1985, Fisheries Institutions in Mauritius, (RAF/79/065/WP/19/84/E)
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SANDERS M.J. 1986 Marine Resources Institutions in Mauritius, (RAF/79/065/WP/28/86/E)
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WIJKSTROM U.N. and KROEPELIEN T., 1979, Revitalization of the Mauritian Bank Fishery: An appraisal - Indian Ocean Programme: IOP/TEC/79/35