GIS - 12 August, 2016:
The Fisheries and Marine Resources Act has been amended to make provision for the octopus fishing closure in Mauritius from 15 August to 15 October 2016, said the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, yesterday at a press conference in Port Louis.
This measure aims to increase the number of juveniles which will grow into adults, thus increase the population of octopus, he said, adding that the two-months closure will promote the sustainable management of the fishery resources. It will also allow the female population to reproduce and at the re-opening of the fishing season, the fishermen will have a better catch, with octopus weighing around 1 to 1,5 kg.
Mr Koonjoo cited figures showing that the number of octopus has steadily gone down in our lagoons. In 1990 around 200 tons of octopus were being caught while in 2015 this figure has dramatically dropped to 30 tons. Hence the need for immediate actions to be taken, he said.
The response to this initiative has been well appreciated by the fishermen community and all other stakeholders, rejoiced the Minister. Hotels have given the assurance that during the closure they will refrain from using fresh octopus. Furthermore, in a bid to inform fishermen about the advantages of this measure, awareness campaigns have been carried out since April around Mauritius.
Just like in other countries where similar measures have been implemented, the payment of compensation to fishermen is not envisaged during the closure of octopus fishery. Those who commit an offence will be liable to a fine not exceeding Rs 50 000, cautioned the Minister.
This initiative is a follow-up of a pilot project funded by the Indian Ocean Commission Smart Fish Programme and implemented by the Mauritius Marine Conservation Society with the collaboration of the Ministry Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Island and the GEF Small Grants Programme of the UNDP.
The pilot project with a two-month voluntary closure of the octopus fishery was implemented in 2015 in the south-west region of Mauritius, along the coastal strip extending from Le Morne to Souillac. The initiative follows the successful implementation of a two-month island-wide seasonal closure of the octopus fishery in Rodrigues and which has since 2012 become an annual feature.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email: email@example.com Website:http://gis.govmu.org