GIS – 08 August: The Fishermen Welfare Fund has awarded 54 educational scholarships - 37 post-CPE and 17 post-SC - for the year 2013 for the promotion of education within the fishermen community of Mauritius and Rodrigues. The scholarship award ceremony, organised by the Fund and the Ministry of Fisheries, was held yesterday at the Mauritius Maritime Training Academy, Pointe aux Sables, in the presence of the Minister of Fisheries, Louis Joseph Von-Mally.
The Fishermen Welfare Fund, a parastatal body that operates under the aegis of the Ministry of Fisheries, promotes the betterment of registered fishermen and their families by providing several services namely financial assistance to the fishermen community. Every year, through its educational scheme, the Fund awards scholarships to children of fishermen based on their academic performance. The scholarships awarded cover secondary, tertiary and vocational courses.
Since its inception in 2000, the Fund has provided scholarships to more than 900 children and some Rs 2 million are disbursed annually in this endeavour. Hence post-CPE scholarship holders get a monthly financial assistance of Rs 375 over five years while post SC beneficiaries are granted a Rs 750 monthly aid over two years.
In his address at the ceremony, the Minister of Fisheries stated that education is the gateway to the future and to successful careers. While encouraging the children present at the ceremony to aim higher and set ambitious goals, Minister Von-Mally called on parents to support their wards, show interest in their education and guide them to a better path. Mr Von-Mally urged fishermen to seize the various opportunities offered by the Fund and the Government, adding that he intends to knock on the doors of the Ministry of Finance for extra fund for additional scholarships.
Speaking on the potential of the local fishing industry which now has an annual turnover of Rs 10.2 billion and contributes an 18.7% figure in terms of exports values, the Minister said that the local fishing industry is poised to become one of the major economic pillars of Mauritius. He also highlighted the accompanying measures and facilities provided to empower fishermen and enable them to further develop their activities for a more dynamic fishing sector.
One example, he cited, would be the development of aquaculture among fishermen through small scale fish culture pilot projects. The Fishermen Investment Trust in collaboration with the Albion Fisheries Research Centre has thus set two fish cages at Trou D’eau Douce and Grand Gaube. The revenue obtained from the cage cultures complements the income of the fishermen concerned thus enabling them to lead a better life. Two more pilot projects are expected at Bambous Virieux and Le Morne in the near future.
According to Minister Von-Mally, Government is also seeking new avenues for the development and culture of sea cucumber, oysters and abalones. He added that the Marine Ranching Project, which comprises the establishment of marine ecological parks will, through a Post Larval Capture and Culture, benefit fishermen by restocking the lagoon and providing a worthwhile tool to enhance and sustain the fishery resources in Mauritius.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website:http://gis.gov.mu