GIS - 04 November, 2015: A three-day workshop on biosecurity and aquatic animal health opened this morning at the Fisheries Training and Extension Centre in Pointe aux Sables. The Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, was present.
Organised by the Competent Authority Seafood, the workshop aims to empower staff of the institution as well as other players on the seafood sector by providing them with the necessary skills and knowledge to deal with the emerging challenges of the aquaculture sector. Other objectives are: to meet the requirements of the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and World Organisation for Animal Health, and to develop an aquatic animal health strategy for Mauritius.
The workshop is being conducted by Dr David Huchzemeyer, Veterinary Officer and associated expert of the Department of Ichtyology and Fisheries Science at Rhodes University in South Africa.
In his opening address, Minister Koonjoo recalled that the fisheries and aquaculture industry has a crucial role to play in the development of the ocean economy. Having a sound, efficient and productive fishing and aquaculture industry, he said, will definitely consolidate the reputation of Mauritius on the world market as far as fish and fish products are concerned. He added that the training has come at an opportune time when the ministry is working on the development of the aquaculture sector in Mauritius.
Speaking about the aquatic animal health strategy, Mr Koonjoo stressed that the FAO is encouraging all SADC countries, including Mauritius, to adopt the requirements of an aquatic animal health strategy prepared by the FAO headquarters for use in African continent and in tropical countries.
According to him, with the globalisation of trade and transport and the movement of live fish from one country to another, the risk of introducing pathogens and diseases is increasing significantly. Hence, the need to put necessary infrastructures in place to control and monitor the entry of undesirable pathogens and diseases which may affect the aquaculture sector, he said.
The Competent Authority Seafood
The Competent Authority Seafood operates under the aegis of Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries, Shipping and Outer Islands and is responsible for the verification and certification of fish and fish products for export primarily to Member States of the European Union (EU) as well as to non-EU countries. It operates at the Sea Food Hub One Stop Shop in Mer Rouge.
Its main activities include:
- registration and approval of fish processing establishments, fishing vessels (small scale fishing vessels, freezer vessels, factory vessels and reefer vessels) and aquaculture farms involved in the export of fish and fish products to EU and non-EU countries;
- issue of export health certificates for all consignments of fish and fish products according to the importing country’s certification requirements;
- inspection of all consignments of fish and fish products for compliance before export to EU and non-EU countries;
- official audits, routine/follow-up/ad-hoc inspections of approved facilities for verification of compliance with EU Community legislation;
- inspection of fishing vessels providing raw material to the EU-listed processing plants prior to departure for fishing campaign;
- sampling of water, ice, fish and fish products from each EU-approved facility for analysis in an ISO 17025 accredited laboratory.
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