Semi-Industrialised Bank Fishery project for Chilled Fish Production for Grande Riviere South East Artisanal Fishermen
Semi-Industrialised Bank Fishery project for Chilled Fish Production for Grande Riviere South East Artisanal Fishermen
The proposed action is concerned with a semi-industrialised outer lagoon fishing project. 20 dedicated and committed artisanal fishermen grouped under the Innovative Fishermen Association (IFA), a registered association from Grand Riviere Sud Est (GRSE) village, have decided to embark on this challenging project as beneficiaries. This project is in line with government policy to encourage artisanal fishermen to explore offshore capture fisheries, which should provide them major economic benefits. Relocating fishing efforts to offshore areas should be translated through financial assistance and capacity building to artisanal fishermen as vulnerable group.

The action would consist of constructing a fully equipped fiberglass medium-sized fishing boat of 15.24 M in length and 4.57 M in width for chilled fish fishery. It will also cover the first four fishing outings operational expenses during the first two months. It is expected that after first two months, the project would be generating sufficient revenues to cover subsequent operational expenses. The action will include some major activities namely the construction the fishing boat, the purchasing and installation of engines/propellers and marine equipment, the capacity building of the target group and four fishing outings. The whole action would be covered over a period of 14 months. Fishing vessel will be operating on the St Brandon, Albatross and Hawkins banks, which are within the 1.9-km2 Mauritius Marine economic zones. The Mouvement Pour L’Autosuffisance Alimentaire (MAA), an Agricultural and Developmental registered NGO would be responsible for the implementation of the action for the beneficiaries /artisanal fishermen of Innovative Fishermen Association.

The fishing vessel would be constructed by Carpenen Ltd, a pioneer in the construction of medium-sized outer lagoon vessels. It would be equipped with freezing and chilled chambers to preserve fish in chilled condition for marketing at landing. It would be run by two Ashok Leyland Diesel Marine engines, the ALM 402 – 106HP/2000 RPM engine to be purchased though the Ashok Leyland Territory Manager (IMK) C/o Leal, Pailles. Marine equipment such as Marine GPS, Fishing Vessel tractor- LCD Radar and the Furuno Echo Sounder would be purchased from Marine Radio Sales and Service Ltd. Installation of engines and Marine equipment would be under the close guidance of the Ashok Leyland engineer and Marine Radio Sales Service Ltd respectively.

Capacity Building is an important component of the action. Beneficiaries would have further training at sea by the Fisheries Training and Extension Centre (FITEC). The training will help beneficiaries to foster their practical knowledge and skills in some key specific areas such as the engine maintenance, the manipulation of the marine communication equipment (radar, radio echo-sounder, GPS), the long-line fishing technique, and fish preservation and handling. Capacity building of beneficiaries in Project Management and Participatory monitoring and Evaluation (PME) would be provided by MAA staff through workshops and monthly meetings. Special focus will be laid on financial management and rules and regulations governing the sound management of the project. The GRSE Innovative fishing project management committee comprising of the main stakeholders would be set up to monitor the ongoing fishing activities and would replace the Project implementation committee (PIC) set up at the outset of the project to implement and monitor the action. Moreover a Secretary -Accountant will be recruited in the second term of the first year to perform administrative and financial duties and to assist in marketing.

Artisanal fishing in Mauritius is characterized by a strong dispersion of local fishermen around the coast of the island and they continue to remain as one of the most vulnerable groups in Mauritius in spite of the development in the fishing sector. They have always remained compliant to their poor economic status which many of them perceive as a matter of destiny. Exploited by intermediates for decades, most of them have not really gained the ownership of their business to become free entrepreneurs. On the other hand Government policies in the past and today has always encouraged them to go for offshore and bank fishery, but never really sort out the critical issue of financial assistance nor did they feel any need to set up close follow-up system to help them to implement such project. Most of the very few artisanal fishermen who tried the experience in the past failed in their offshore projects due to management problems. However the recent massive grouping of artisanal fishermen into a trade union is a positive sign and they have sent the red signal to the authorities to save them from their bleak destiny in lagoon fishing. A comprehensive strategy to relocate them offshore is needed to replace the piecemeal government approach.

The average monthly revenue of the artisanal fishermen is around 5500 rupees, which is below the poverty line based on family income of 7000 rupees. The artisanal fisherman fishing days is around 200-days/ yr and has to remain ashore for the remaining days of the year because of bad weather. His frail embarkation is the main limiting factor restraining him from fishing safely throughout the year. However subsidies given to fishermen through compensation allowance for bad weather could gradually be invested in artisanal fishermen bank projects as a more sustainable solution to their vulnerability.

Most of the 2086 existing artisanal fishermen have been restricted to lagoon fishing. Our lagoon is over exploited and is under constant pressure. For many years, the sugar industry has been using corals for lime production and this has depleted the lagoon marine environment and been a serious obstacle to the proliferation of fish. The lagoon which is the ultimate sink of land based activities is constantly affected by pollution. The wastes entering the marine environment consist mainly of organic matter originated form sewage outfalls and sugar factories, chemicals from manufacturing industries and nutrients and pesticides coming form agriculture. This pollution has already a serious impact on fish population and its proliferation in the lagoon. In fact average catch per fisherman dropped from 6.1 kg/day in the year 2000 to 4.2 kg/day in 2003. According to local fishermen, the average catch has further dropped to 2.5 kg/day in 2005. There is both an urgent need to relieve pressure on the lagoon fishing stock to avoid further depletion and to relocate part of artisanal fishermen from the lagoon to offshore fishery. Moreover the ten year development plan for fisheries released in 1998 aims at preventing further degradation of marine coastal environment and fishery resources. The plan lays emphasis on sustainable use of existing resources and protection of the marine environment.

The average catch per fishermen /day on the St Brandon, Albatross, Hawkins or Soudan banks from 2003 figures is 45.6kg/fisherman/day. This large production gaps between lagoon and bank fishery is a solid argument for investment in semi industrialized vessels for bank fishery. Only 12 fishing boats are currently operating on semi-industrialised chilled fish bank fishery. Bank fishery has reached only 50% of the market and its potential have not yet been exploited. This project is also in line with government policy to transform the island into a seafood hub.

Outer lagoon fishing is encouraged in order to release pressure on lagoonal stocks. Nearly 9000T of fish, crustaceans, and related products are imported to satisfy demands of the local population and that of the growing tourist industry. Bank fishery by the artisanal fishermen would definitely contribute to reduce our high fish import. Fish is no longer a cheap commodity in Mauritius in spite of generally held perceptions that the island is surrounded by water and fresh fish is plentiful. In fact fish is over-exploited in our inshore stocks. Moreover this project seeks to contribute to the sustainable local production of fisheries to island food security.

Conventional approaches to fisheries management in Mauritius have not been effective in promoting sustainable resource utilization. Innovative approaches to management that built on traditional knowledge on conservation and management should considered by the authorities. The project will use a community based fishery management approach

The GRSE lagoon marine environment has greatly deteriorated these last five years with the development of the tourist industry in the East. The fish reproduction zones are greatly affected by the destruction of mangroves by hotels promoters, hotel sea sport activities and the removal of protected rocky sea areas to produce artificial seaside. The main contention behind the recent confrontation between promoters of the new five star Anahita hotel in construction in the locality and GRSE fishermen has been the latter’s fear that the hotel project would impact negatively on the marine resources in the area which would affect their livelihoods. In that environment, GRSE fishermen see themselves with no other alternative than going for off-lagoon fishing for the sustainability of their livelihoods. The Innovative Fisherman Association members of GRSE have decided to embark on this new challenge and at the same time they want to pave the way for similar projects for other artisanal fishermen over the island.

The project seeks to develop an offshore fishing management approach for artisanal fishermen based on long term sustainability and responsibility fisheries. The fishermen would be empowered to assume the ownership of the project through capacity building and a follow up system. Fishermen children will be invited the join offshore fishing as new breed of fishing entrepreneur. The project will also improve the quality of life of artisanal fishermen families and the GRSE community as a whole. Women usually play a key role in promoting food security through their activities in the fisheries sector. In that perspective, fishermen wives and other women in the locality would be invited to get involve in the marketing of the chilled fish. Most importantly they would be included in the processing of part of the catch as value added fish products with the development of the project.

The main project activities would consist of: 1. Setting up PIC (Project implementation committee) 2. Construction of a fibre glass fishing vessel by Carpenen ltd. 3.Purchasing by two Ashok Leyland Diesel Marine engines through the Ashok Leyland Territory Manager (IMK) C/o Leal, Pailles. 4. Purchasing Marine equipments namely Marine GPS, Fishing Vessel tractor- LCD Radar and the Furuno Echo Sounder 5. Installation of engines and equipments on fishing vessel. 6. Trial of fishing vessel at sea 7. Special training of beneficiaries at FITEC. 8. Capacity building of beneficiaries in Project management , PME and others through workshops etc.9 Recruiting Secretary-Accountant for the project 9.Setting up a GRSE Innovative Fishing project Management committee 10.Preparing and implementing the first two fishing outings 11. Monitoring evaluation of the first two fishing outings and corrective actions taken for the implementation of next fishing outings.

Project Beneficiaries from the Innovative Fishermen Association have been participated in the preparation of the action during the last 12 months through monthly MAA/ Innovative ass. meetings at GRSE. Participation of beneficiaries in decision making process at management level and in the implementation of activities is essential for the sustainability of the project in the long run. PME (Participatory Monitoring and Evaluation) as a tool would be used by the Project Management Committee to monitor and measure project performance. PIM (Participatory impact Monitoring) is another tool which would be used to improve project steering, learning and capacity building of beneficiaries. Both tools would ensure the sustainability of the project qualitatively and quantitatively. Moreover Systemization as a tool to continuously analyze the project activities would be used to generate knowledge, to improve its implementation and impact, to share lessons learned, to improve project performance, and to enhance the organizational capacity of beneficiaries through skills development. Special focus will be laid on Financial , fishing vessel management to ensure the sustainability of the project. The ‘Innovative fishermen Association’ members are experienced lagoon fishermen who were the first batch of registered artisanal fishermen to be trained in semi-industrialised off lagoon fishing by FITEC Two of the members /beneficiaries have already two years of fishing experience in off lagoon fishing and the use of the long line Grena technique.

After the two months of fishing operations, revenue from the chilled fish would be largely sufficient to pay for the operational expenses of the ongoing fishing activities and to maintain a paid staff for the coordination of related land-based activities.

The total budget for the action will be Rs4540669. The EDF contribution sought is 75% of the budget, that is Rs3405501., the beneficiaries would be contributing 1%( Rs 50000) and the request from MAA to UNDP-GEF is 24% of the budget, that is, Rs 1085168. (One million eighty five thousand and one hundred and sixty eight rupees only). The fund from UNDP-GEF would partly cover the construction of the fishing vessel, which amounts to Rs 2.3 Million.
 
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Project Snapshot

Grantee:
Mouvement Pour L’Autosuffisance Alimentaire
Country:
Mauritius
Area Of Work:
Biodiversity
Grant Amount:
US$ 11,544.00
Co-Financing Cash:
US$ 1,832.00
Co-Financing in-Kind:
Project Number:
MAR/SGP/OP4/CORE/07/07
Status:
Satisfactorily Completed

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Partnership

European Union

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Mr. Eric Mangar
 

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5, Rue La Place
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SGP Country office contact

Mrs. Pamela Bapoo-Dundoo
Phone:
(230) 213 53 84
Fax:
(230) 212 14 11
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2nd Floor, Sugar Industry Pension Fund Building, 1 Remy Ollier Street
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