On 11 August 2021, an Inception Workshop for the ‘Supporting the Economic Empowerment of the Artisanal Fishing Community of the Republic of Mauritius’ Project was organized by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The event was held in presence of the Honorable Sudheer Maudhoo, Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping; Mr. Geza Strammer, Head of Cooperation for the European Union; members of the public, and representatives of the private sector, NGOs, project partners and fisheries associations.
Supporting the Economic Empowerment of the Artisanal Fishing Community of the Republic of Mauritius is a UNDP project under the E€OFISH Programme, which is designed to promote sustainable fishing in East Africa, Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean region. In Mauritius, the EU-funded programme will be implemented by the UNDP with the partnership of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping. One of the main aims of the project is to provide the community of artisanal fishers with advanced technologies that will enable them to explore more sustainable fishing grounds, thereby allowing the regeneration of the over-exploited lagoons.
The Supporting the Economic Empowerment of the Artisanal Fishing Community of the Republic of Mauritius project has 3 main pillars, namely:
Pillar 1: HARVEST - the fisher communities will be supported with the assembly and deployment of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) and training on their use;
Pillar 2: POST HARVEST INFRASTRUCTURE - five fish landing stations in Mauritius and Rodrigues will be fitted with eco-friendly equipment including solar panels to power refrigerating devices, and rainwater harvesting;
Pillar 3: POST HARVEST PROCESSING - Fisher communities will be trained in fish hygiene, fish processing and marketing. The project also aims at raising awareness among the fisher community for improved knowledge sharing.
A project to protect livelihoods sustainably
In her welcome address, Ms. Fatuma Musa, UNDP Officer in Charge for Mauritius and Seychelles, emphasized that the Country Office is privileged to support the implementation of this ambitious project, which aims to improve and strengthen the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the fisheries sector. Ms. Musa also thanked the European Union for setting up the E€OFISH programme; the Indian Ocean Commission for coordinating the project locally and regionally; and the Ministry of Blue Economy as implementing partner in Mauritius.
Mr. Geza Strammer, the Head of Cooperation for the European Union, acknowledged the high commitment that the EU puts on fisheries, and stated that: “Together with the Republic of Mauritius, the EU wants to explore how we can boost the sustainable development of the artisanal fisheries sector while at the same time addressing the challenges of Climate Change and preserving biodiversity.”
In his speech, the Honorable Sudheer Maudhoo, Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, emphasized that supporting the fisher community is now a necessity, especially in the COVID-19 context. According to him, “this project is geared towards empowering artisanal fishers so that they can improve their economic situation and aspire to better living conditions.”
The Inception Workshop also included presentations from the UNDP Project Manager, Mr. Jean Lindsay Azie, who provided an overview of the project. Ms. Raksha Ramloll, Project Assistant, talked about the roles and responsibilities of the Project Management team and the stakeholders involvement, while Ms. Wendie Lambin, Operation Assistant, explained the Project Results Framework and Budget Plan.
Dr. Soobaschand Sweenarain, Fisheries Economist and Technical Coordinator for the wider E€OFISH Programme, also presented a detailed Programme Overview, including the expected results, work plan and technical monitoring. During the session, the various stakeholders were also invited to break out in focus groups and engage in discussions about the main project activities.