GIS – 06 March, 2020: Investigator II, a new multi-purpose support vessel to support important training and research in the blue economy, was officially launched, yesterday, by the Prime Minister, Mr Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, at Quay E, Mer Rouge. The vessel, co-funded by the Australian and Mauritian governments, will be used by the Mauritius Oceanography Institute, the Mauritius Maritime Training Academy and other Government institutions.
Speaking at the launch, Prime Minister Jugnauth underlined that the fisheries sector is a priority area for Mauritius in view of our large Exclusive Economic Zone which spans over 2.3 million square kilometres. He added that the blue economy, which has an immense potential for Mauritius, can drive the country to another stage of its development. Hence, the need for necessary expertise, state-of-the-art tools, appropriate technology and the required framework.
He reiterated Government’s commitment to making the blue economy an important industry to sustain economic diversification, job creation and wealth generation adding that the fisheries sector is one of the mainstays of the blue economy. He recalled that in order to provide fisheries operators with new facilities, the Mauritius Ports Authority (MPA) is investing some Rs 2.2 billion in another breakwater at Fort William which will allow for the safe mooring of some 120 ocean-going fishing vessels, thus creating a fully functional fishing port. Moreover, the navigational channel will be dredged further to a depth of 18 metres to make Port Louis the deepest port in the region, he said.
Furthermore, the MPA will be setting up a Maritime Single Window for the processing of vessel clearances which would facilitate the arrival and departure of vessels at the Port of Port-Louis, enhancing its competitiveness in the region. Other measures include: the setting up of an online and physical fish auction market which will act as an interface between local fishers, fishing companies and buyers, both local and international; and increase in daily rate of Bad Weather Allowance to assist fishers who have not been able to go fishing due to bad weather conditions from Rs 310 to Rs 365.
Since regional cooperation in fisheries management and development, and marine conservation, is of utmost importance to small island States, Mauritius will actively participate in the activities of the relevant Regional Fisheries Organisations such as the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the Convention for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources, and the South West Indian Ocean Fisheries Commission, stated the Prime Minister.
Also present on the occasion, the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, stated that Investigator II will help his Ministry in assessing marine resources and providing better facilities to enhance fish production through sustainable exploitation of untapped resources especially on the banks.
For her part, Australia’s High Commissioner to Mauritius, Ms Jenny Dee highlighted that the launching the multi-purpose vessel coincides with the celebration of 50 years of diplomatic relations between Mauritius and Australia. According to her, the sustainable use of marine resources is critical for inclusive economic growth and sustainable development in the Indian Ocean region, and hinges on strong regional cooperation, sound research and innovative technologies.
The 61 ft Investigator II which will be operated by the Fisheries Training and Extension Centre of the Ministry of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping. It is equipped with state-of-the-art technology for the conduct of exploratory surveys, fisheries research, oceanography projects, placing of Fish Aggregating Devices and their maintenance as well as training of fishers and skippers, in order to develop the fisheries sector. It is also fitted with sophisticated equipment to carry out acoustic surveys for the stock assessment of unexploited demersal fish on the banks and slopes drop-offs.
Investigator II will also be used to undertake a stock assessment to better manage and protect species such as lobsters, squid and other small commercial pelagic fish. The results of these studies will consolidate knowledge and facilitate the diversification of our fisheries and seafood industry.
The total cost for the acquisition of the multipurpose support vessel is estimated at Rs 57 M and the Government of Australia has provided Rs 20 M under the Australian Food Aid Programme for the purchase of the vessel.
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