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Mauritian fishers want EU vessels out of their seas by Nasseem Ackbarally August 09,2012   |  Source: IPS

“Look out there, the blue one…. that is a European Union fishing vessel that is threatening our livelihood,” says Lallmamode Mohamedally, a Mauritian fisherman, as he points to a boat offloading its catch at the Les Salines port, close to the country’s capital Port Louis.

He is one of the fishers who have returned after a hard day at sea with their boats almost empty. Pollution and tourist activity have reduced the fish catch on the island’s lagoons over the past few years.

But local fishers say a February agreement between the EU and this Indian Ocean island nation, which allows European vessels to catch 5,500 tonnes of fish a year for three years at a cost of 660,000 euros annually, has made the situation worse.

While there are no official figures to confirm this, the 3,500 local fishers, who now have to compete with modern industrialised fishing boats, say that their catch has gone down by 50 to 60 percent.

And the Les Salines fishers believe that the 86 vessels from companies based in the EU, which are fishing in the area, are stealing their livelihoods.

“These big vessels are scratching the sea around Mauritius and taking away all the fish,” says Mohamedally.

While most fishers want the EU vessels to leave, Mohamedally says he would not mind

 

© 2012 IPS-Inter Press Service

Theme(s): Fisheries Development and Aquaculture.

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