The 27th Session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) Ministerial Meeting, opened, yesterday, at the Intercontinental Hotel in Balaclava. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade and Minister of Land Transport and Light Rail, Mr Alan Ganoo, and the Minister of Blue Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, Mr Sudheer Maudhoo, as well as other dignitaries were present at the opening ceremony.
Minister Maudhoo, at the outset, indicated that the fishing industry contributes 1.4% to the Gross Domestic Product and provides employment to 22 000 people, including 10 000 in direct employment. The tuna industry accounts for 25% of our exports and Mauritius, as a Small Island Developing State, is highly dependent on the tuna industry for the social and economic sustainability of the country, he said.
In the wake of recent global pandemic and uncertainties, the Minister emphasised, the IOTC is facing its own challenges, that of sustainably managing the tuna stocks in the Indian Ocean and ensuring their conservation while safeguarding the interests of its members. “While sustainability is our first goal, our second goal is to ensure that coastal States obtain the right share of income from tuna exploitation as a resource”, stressed Minister Maudhoo.
The Fisheries Minister therefore called for a more reasonable approach when it comes to the adoption of new management measures especially at a time when two of the tropical tuna stocks are in the red. The spirit of consensus, he pointed out, must prevail because the future of the Indian Ocean is everyone’s concern and especially that of the coastal nations.
The idea of working collaboratively towards a shared vision for a sustainable fisheries industry, while ensuring the livelihood of future generation and fostering collaboration in other sectors of interest, were put forth by Minister Maudhoo.