Fishermen’s co-operatives in Mauritius will benefit from additional support from the government, it has been announced.
During a visit to a community of fishermen at Alain Noel Square in Grande Rivière Sud-Est, minister of business, enterprise and co-operatives Soomilduth Bholah revealed some of the measures to be adopted by the government to support the sector.
He said fish producer co-operatives represented “a valuable contributor to the country’s economy”, forming part of the 5% contribution by agriculture to the national GDP. The Mauritius Fishermen Co-operative Federation currently includes 22 co-operatives with 450 fishermen who produce an average of 75 tons of fish a year.
The government will provide funding to co-ops for the purchase of semi-industrial boats of up to Rs 4m (£91,000). Registered co-ops will also be able to receive grants of up to Rs 200,000 (£4,584) for the purchase of boat engines and fishing nets. The sector will also receive some tax exemptions and training, added the minister.
Co-ops will also benefit from the introduction of a group life insurance scheme in case of accidents at sea, while all registered fishermen will receive a free cooler box.
The minister added that the measures were designed to help the sector modernise and increase the catch by acquiring the necessary tools and equipment. The initiative aims to encourage more fishermen to set up co-operatives.
More than 200 children from the fishermen community also took part in the event, receiving school materials.
Last year the government gave the federation a refrigerated truck worth Rs 3.2m (£73,322).
As part of another project, the government is investing Rs 47bn (£1.07bn) for transformation of the Port Louis Harbour into a regional maritime hub.