The European Union (EU) and the Republic of Mauritius have signed a new protocol to the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreement, setting the conditions to allow EU tuna fishing vessels to fish in Mauritius waters for a period of four years, in a transparent and regulated environment.
The announcement was made by Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping Premdut Koonjoo, during a press conference in Port Louis. It was in the context of the closing ceremony of the third round of negotiations for the renewal of the fisheries partnership.
The Protocol provides for a financial contribution of EUR 575,000 per year from the EU as well as an increased contribution to be paid by vessel-owners, which will be allocated to support the Mauritian fisheries sector, in addition of a specific contribution earmarked to promote the development of the blue economy. In this way, the collaboration scope will be extended in the fisheries field and maritime economy.
Minister Koonjoo highlighted that regarding tuna catch in the region, the fishing opportunities proposed to the European fleet are realistic, as the value of their right of access to Mauritius waters is consistent with the value of the catches, and the contribution of shipowners to this right of access has increased significantly.
The minister also clarified that the EU and Mauritius will ensure regular joint monitoring of catch data using up-to-date technology, stating that these fisheries monitoring, control and surveillance methods, which are also applied to other domestic and foreign fleets, will eventually deter illicit unreported and unregulated fishing (IUU) activities.
When the EU fleet starts fishing, Mauritian authorities will receive in real time the satellite positions of European vessels operating in its waters. The electronic catch reporting system will be automatically transmitted to the Albion Fisheries Monitoring Centre in the near future.
The new protocol will enter into force in the coming months, after both parties' adoption procedures come to an end.