Introducing the Mauritius ECOFISH project to the artisanal fishing community in Rodrigues
June 21, 2022
A delegation from the UNDP Mauritius and Seychelles country office was in Rodrigues between 13 and 17 June to present the EU-funded ‘Supporting the Economic Empowerment of the Artisanal Fishing Community in the Republic of Mauritius' project to various stakeholders of the fisheries sector, including artisanal fishers.
The commonly called “Mauritius ECOFISH project” is implemented nationally by the UNDP with the collaboration of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, and the Rodrigues Regional Assembly. It aims at encouraging artisanal fishers to improve their catches by exploring new fishing grounds on the high sea, while reducing pressures on the lagoons. During this technical mission, the Mauritius ECOFISH Project Team had the opportunity to engage with the Chief Commissioner of Rodrigues, the Commissioner for Fisheries, and the Commissioner for Information Technology and Telecommunications, to present the potential benefits of the project for Rodrigues. The discussions focused on the provision of modern Fish-Aggregating Devices and other advanced fishing technology to the artisanal fishing community; the training of youngsters and women in post-harvest processing, and the upgrading of existing fish landing stations in Rodrigues.
The Mauritius ECOFISH Project Team also collaborated with the Commission of Fisheries to organize a two-day sensitization campaign with artisanal fishers from the North and the South of Rodrigues. Several stakeholders attended the first day workshop, namely Mr. Louis Ange Perrine, Commissioner for Fisheries; Mr. Joseph Christian Leopold, President of the Rodrigues Regional Assembly, and members of the Maritime Academy & Research Centre (MARC). Around 35 fishers from the Northern villages of Baie Malgache, Crève Coeur and Rivière Banane, also participated in this event which had for objective to collect data to better guide the project implementation in Rodrigues.
During this first workshop, Mr. Louis Ange Perrine, Commissioner for Fisheries, highlighted the importance of preserving the rich marine ecosystem of Rodrigues, which is a vital source of revenue, livelihood, and food security for most Rodriguans. He also mentioned the need to set up new structures within the fisheries sector, such as capacity building, to better support artisanal fishers and the entire population of the island.
Mr. Sylvio Perrine, Acting Head of Fisheries, and Mr. Jean Lindsay Azie, UNDP Mauritius ECOFISH Project Manager, also addressed the audience to mention the various initiatives carried out in the fisheries sector and under the ECOFISH project respectively. The session also included discussions whereby representatives of the fishing community shared their experience and perspectives towards the development of a sustainable fishing industry. A gender analysis was carried out through focus group discussion to better understand gender roles in the fishing sector. This allowed participants to share insights on the evolving roles of men and women in fishing activities.
The second workshop organized in Battue Madame was attended by around 30 fishers from Rivière Cocos, Graviers and Montagne Cabris Est. The two-day sensitization campaign follows several awareness meetings organized by the UNDP in Mauritius to present the ECOFISH project to the artisanal fisher community. Insights gathered in Rodrigues will complement the data already collected; help guide the project’s implementation process in both islands, and contribute to the development of a sustainable artisanal fisheries sector.
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