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Monday, June 24, 2024

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Budget 2022-23 : Key Measures To Boost Fisheries Sector

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A series of measures to boost the local fisheries sector in a bid to drastically reduce reliance on imports and optimise the country’s resources, has been announced, this evening, by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy, during his presentation of the Budget 2022-23.

The budget caters for the following key measures to boost activities in the fisheries sector and enhance the contribution of the country’s Blue Economy:

  • Rs 10 million for an additional hatchery at the Albion Fisheries and Research Centre to increase the production of fingerlings by 100,000 annually.
  • Rs 35 million to carry out a stock assessment on the Saya de Malha bank to identify small pelagic species for local consumption.
  • To improve the safety of fishers and surveillance in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone, with the support of the EU, acquisition for 2,000 handheld VHF radios to be used by artisanal fishers and two rapid intervention patrol boats, will be made.
  • For safer navigation in lagoons, marker buoys will be installed in some 50 boat passages; the boat passage at Le Morne will be extended; and further dredging will be conducted at Grand River South East, Mahebourg, and Souillac.
  • Seven Fish Aggregating Devices will be replaced around the island.
  • The grant for the acquisition of semi-industrial fishing vessels by registered cooperatives is being increased from Rs 4 million to Rs 6 million. These cooperatives will also benefit from leasing facilities offered by the IFCM Ltd.
  • Six barachois will be made available for the production of crabs and shrimps.
  • Four  sites will be allocated for off-lagoon aquaculture and legislation will be amended accordingly and a new concession framework will be introduced in the Maritime Zones Act to allow for in-lagoon pearl oyster and algae culture.

The Minister also enunciated budgetary measures for the benefit of small fishers. These are:

  • 500 additional fishermen cards will be issued.
  • Rs 5,000 per fisher will be provided for the purchase of materials to construct fish traps.
  • Financial assistance for the purchase of hooks will be maintained.
  • The daily Bad Weather Allowance for fishers has been increased from Rs 475 to Rs 575.

It is recalled that the Fisheries sector is to benefit from the envelop of Rs 3 billion to be injected to enable farmers, planters, breeders, and fishers to achieve the country’s objectives of food security in the medium term.

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