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Friday, 01 February 2013

Mauritian fishermen accuse EU of depleting fish resources

Mauritian fishermen are reported to be displeased that the European Union (EU) vessels are depleting their fish resources.  
The EU fishing trawlers, mainly from Spain, France and Portugal, operating under the Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) signed in 2012 between Mauritius and the EU are said to be scouring the sea around Mauritius are. This leads local fishermen need to go further out in the sea to be able to catch fish.
The Fisheries Partnership Agreement (FPA) authorizes 86 vessels to capture 5500 tons of fish a year for a period of six years. The EU has paid an annual fee of €660.000 ($863, 127) to Port Louis.
“Fish that was abundant in the lagoons around the island in the past have now disappeared because of over-fishing and also because of pollution as evidenced by the official statistics,” AA says in a recently-released report.
Both economists and marine scientists are yet to come to terms with the core reason why Mauritius has signed such an agreement with the EU when countries like Morocco and Senegal have refused to do so. Mauritius has been resisting the agreement for the last seven years but finally agreed to sign it in late 2012.
Now, mauritian Fisheries Minister, Nicolas Von Mally, is concerned by the fate of the 12000 fishermen earning a living from the tuna canneries of the island where the fish are offloaded by the EU vessels at the port in Port-Louis for processing. About 95 percent of the production from the 90 000 tons of raw tuna is exported to European markets.
Mauritus claims an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of 1.9 million km2, including the water around Chagos Archipelago. The lagoon area around the main island of Mauritius is 243 km2.