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Seafood sector: First participation of Mauritian enterprises in SEAFEX in Dubai

Date: November 10, 2016
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen

GIS - 10 November, 2016: Four Mauritian enterprises participated for the first time in SEAFEX from 7 to 9 November 2016 in Dubai. The participants were: Ferme Marine de Mahebourg (farmed fresh fish); Princes Tuna (Mauritius) (preserved tuna); SAPMER Premium Seaproducts (frozen tuna loins and steaks); and Seskel Enterprise (salted fish).
The main objectives were to help the main seafood exporters diversify into new and emerging markets and position Mauritius as a reliable supplier for sustainable seafood in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. The trend towards sustainable resources was highlighted at SEAFEX 2016.
SEAFEX is one of the leading international fair for seafood products targeting the MENA seafood market, now valued at USD 272 million according to a recent report by the United Nations’ Food and Agricultural Organisation. The Global Corporate Challenge demand for fresh fish is expected to grow by 8% per annum up to 2030.
SEAFEX 2016 featured over 145 brands from more than 25 countries, and hence was an ideal platform to create awareness of ‘Made in Mauritius’ products and to network with global industry leaders from the entire seafood supply chain.
Mauritian Seafood Industry
The Mauritian Seafood Industry is an emerging sector of the economy and currently stands as the 2nd strongest pillar of the manufacturing sector. Over the last decade, Mauritius has engaged in an ambitious programme to develop the Italy, Spain and Netherlands markets whilst frozen tuna steaks and loins are mainly exported to France and Japan.
A specialised sub-sector of the seafood industry, sustainable aquaculture ranks highly on Government’s agenda.  Around 30 sites have been earmarked around the island for the setting-up of in-lagoon fish breeding. Farming of high-value and niche products such as Cobia (Rachycendron Canadum), sea cucumber, oyster and oyster pearls, crabs, sea-urchins and other shellfish are being encouraged.
Red Drum (Sciaenops Ocellatus) and European Seabass (Dicentrachus Labrax) are currently cultivated under aquaculture within the sheltered lagoon on the Eastern coast of Mauritius. The farm, approved Sustainable Aquaculture by the organisation Friend of the Sea, aims to increase its annual production from 700 tons to 3000 tons by 2018. Main export destinations include the United States of America (USA), Italy, South Africa, Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Mauritius has been positioning itself as a favourable destination for sustainable aquaculture and higher value-added seafood processing. In 2006, the Seafood Hub project was launched and facilities were extended for trading, transshipment, storage and warehousing, processing, distribution and re-export of fresh chilled and frozen raw as well as value-added seafood products.  
In 2015, exports of seafood from Mauritius amounted to € 337 M (Rs 13 billion), representing 16% of total exports. Today, the seafood industry employs nearly 12,000 people directly and contributes 1.5% to total gross domestic product.
Fish products exported from Mauritius include canned tuna, pre-cooked vacuum packed tuna loins, frozen tuna loins and steaks, frozen fish fillets, fresh chilled whole fish or fish fillets, salted fish, fish oil and fish meal. Mauritius offers high value-added seafood processing that complies with EU Regulations, Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP) and British Retail Consortium (BRC) standards.
The prime market for Mauritian canned tuna and pre-cooked tuna loins is the EU (mainly UK). The culture of pearls, crabs, sea-urchins and other shellfish are being encouraged. Mauritius has exported fresh fish to the tune of Rs 8.2 million to the UAE in 2015. In 2014, Rs 11.5 million of preserved tuna was exported to Israel and Rs 3.5 million of frozen tuna to Oman.
Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email:  Website:
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