GIS - 24 November, 2015: Research and development will be crucial for the development of the ocean economy as the next phase of our socio-economic development will be driven by technology and innovation, said the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, yesterday at the opening of a workshop on ‘Research and Development for a Sustainable Ocean Economy’.
The workshop, held at Le Meridien Hotel in Pointe aux Piments, was organised by the Mauritius Institute of Oceanography (MOI). It was attended by around 100 participants from the private sector, the public sector including ministries and parastatal bodies as well as NGOs and regional partners such as representatives from the Indian Ocean Commission and the United Nations Development Programme.
Mr Koonjoo added that research and development is the backbone of a globally competitive, knowledge-driven economy since it helps develop new products and services that drive growth, create jobs, and improve the national welfare, he added.
The MOI, he said, is called to play a vital role in the process of applied research in the ocean sector, in line with the Governmental programme 2015-2019 which focuses on transforming the Ocean Economy into an important industry to sustain economic diversification, job creation and wealth generation. He stressed that the MOI is required to bring about a significant shift from academic to applied research to be able to take up the challenges and meet the expectations of stakeholders.
Mission in Rodrigues
Speaking about a recent official mission of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands to Rodrigues, Mr Koonjoo expressed satisfaction that it has been successful with two major activities having been undertaken. They are: an inventory of Seafarers in Rodrigues with a view to providing assistance to active and retired Rodriguan Seafarers under the Seafarers Welfare Fund; and a sensitisation campaign with the objective of informing the Rodriguan youth about the various career opportunities in the maritime sector.
To ensure the effective implementation of these two projects, a dedicated desk under the responsibility of the Deputy Chief Commissioner will be set up. The delegation also had discussions with the Rodriguan Authorities regarding the setting up of a MOI antenna in Rodrigues which will act as a nodal point between Rodrigues and Mauritius regarding Research and Development on oceanography activities.
The MOI will also sign an MoU with the Rodriguan authorities next year and will organise a similar strategic workshop in Rodrigues to take on board the Rodriguan specificities in the elaboration of the MOI Strategic Plan.
The objective of the workshop is to allow the MOI to take cognizance of the scientific requirements, in terms of data, services and trainings, of various actors, investors, communities and stakeholders to start or to support the sustainable development of mariculture activities in Mauritius towards the creation of jobs and wealth. Through consultation and interaction with the marine related actors, the MOI will be in a better position to understand the needs of the concerned parties and to ensure a sustainable development of our Ocean Economy.
Presentations focused on: Scientific Research and Development activities of MOI; National and Regional Marine Research Coordination and Development, Seabed Exploration, Marine Renewable Energy; Business Facilitation, Human Capability, Infrastructure, Collaborations; and Fisheries, Marine Living Resource Exploration and Aquaculture. The resource persons were from the Mauritius Research Council, the Board of Investment, the MOI, and Ferme Marine de Mahebourg.
The MOI, as per the Mauritius Oceanography Institute Act, is mandated to harness marine resources of Mauritius Waters through the undertaking of oceanographic research. Therefore, the role which the Institute is now called upon to play is very important in the implementation of the vision set by the Government.