Ocean economy: Signature of three Deeds of Concession for fish farming
In line with Government’s strategy to diversify the fisheries sector and develop a strong ocean economy, three Deeds of Concession for fish farming were signed on 18 October 2016 at the Treasury Building in Port Louis. The grant of concession was awarded to Ferme Marine de Mahebourg Ltd.
The signing ceremony was held in the presence of the Prime Minister, Sir Anerood Jugnauth; the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo; and representatives of Ferme Marine de Mahebourg Ltd. The signatories were the Secretary to Cabinet and Head of the Civil Service, Mr Nayen Koomar Ballah, and the Acting Managing Director of the Ferme Marine de Mahebourg Ltd, Mr Pierre-Yves Semaesse.
With the operation of the three new fish farming sites, the company is expecting the annual production to increase from 500 tonnes to 1,500 tonnes in the first phase and thereafter to 3,000 tonnes. The expansion project value is estimated at Rs 300 million. Some 110 employees are currently working in the company and an additional 20 to 25 employees will be recruited in the coming years. The three new fish farms are located around Pointe Bambous and Jonchée Bar in the lagoon of Vieux Grand Port.
In his address, the Prime Minister underscored the need to develop the Ocean Industry by leveraging on the Exclusive Economic Zone. He pointed out that the signing of the Deed of Concession is another step in that effort after the signing of the first Deed of Concession on Deep Ocean Water Application. With the strong focus on activities which will fuel the development of the ocean economy, marine fish farming is expected to take centre stage in the near future, he said.
Sir Anerood Jugnauth said that fish farming landscape is expected to considerably change in the near future with more operators coming into play. A number of operators, he explained, have already been granted letter of Intent by the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Outer Islands for implementing marine aquaculture projects. The estimated project value of these aquaculture projects is around Rs 1.7 billion.
For his part, the Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Outer Islands, Mr Premdut Koonjoo, said that the signing of the first deed of concession for aquaculture project will bring about structural reform of the sector by encouraging both local and foreign operators to invest. He highlighted that industrial fish farming activities at the prescribed sites (20 in total) will contribute to the expansion of the sector while adding that 11 additional sites have been earmarked for fishermen community for the development of small scale aquaculture.
The representative from Ferme Marine de Mahebourg Ltd, Mr Louis Lai Fat Fur, recalled that the company is engaged in fish farming activities since 2002 and that it has been the pioneer for the development of large scale commercial aquaculture in Mauritius. He pointed out that they have acquired a lot of know-how in marine fish farming and egg hatching while adding that the company was awarded the label ‘Friends of the Sea’ in 2014, a recognition that it is resiliently gearing itself to the future and is part of the drive for a sustainable Mauritius.