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Octopus Fishery Management Initiatives: A Promising Approach for Managing Coastal Fisheries









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    Management of the octopus fishery in Rodrigues 2014
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    On the autonomous island of Rodrigues, which lies about 600 km north-east of Mauritius, fishing for octopus – locally called “ourite” – has been a traditional economic activity for generations. The fishing is carried out by walking on the reef flats of the gigantic lagoon that surrounds the island (240 km²) and using metal sticks to search the dens in which octopus shelter. In the deeper parts of the lagoon, it can also be carried out using boats from which fishermen handle long spears. Traditio nally sun-dried in the villages along the coast, octopus have in the last few decades been systematically collected in order to supply a handful of exporters who ship them, frozen, to Mauritius. A very organized octopus trade sector has therefore appeared, encouraging fishermen – professional or not – to catch more “ourites”.
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    Value chain assessment of the artisanal fisheries: Mauritius 2012
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    This study was commissioned by the Ministry of Fisheries and Rodrigues of Mauritius and executed by the Implementation of Regional Fisheries Strategies for the ESA-OI under the aegis of the Indian Ocean Commission funded by the European Union. Its principal objective is to carry out a value chain analysis of the artisanal fisheries sub-sector in Mauritius to assess the economic performance of its production functions and marketing channels. Based on the findings, recommendations are made to enha nce overall efficiencies in the artisanal fisheries while taking into account the social and ecological implications. Actually the artisanal fisheries are the main suppliers of fresh fish to the local markets with an annual production of 830 metric tonnes. As of 2010 there were 1,620 registered fishers, 1,605 fishing boats and 400 active fishmongers in the sub-sector. The targeted fish stocks have attained their MSY. The CPFD is at 6.4 kg over the past 3 years. The MOFR provides a plethora of in centives to divert fishing efforts from the lagoon to off-lagoon deep-sea FAD and demersal fisheries in order to relieve fishing pressure in the lagoon. There are 60 Fish Landing Stations (FLS) around Mauritius that serve as operational base to the coastal fishing fleet. They are mandated for unloading of fish, data collection and primary sale of fish. In the early 70’s they were conceived to provide basic facilities for cleaning, sorting and marketing of fish. Actually most of them have outlive d their purposes and are out of use. The decline of the Local Fishing Community (LFS) has had a negative impact on the development and management of the coastal fisheries and the organisation of the LFC. Efforts are being made by the Ministry to rehabilitate the FLS network around the island in consultation with the LFC. A major concern for the artisanal fisheries is the absence of a food safety and quality standard along the supply chain, from capture to consumption. Preservation of fish on boa rd is rudimentary or non-existent. Flake Ice is not available around the island particularly at the FLS. Traditional boats are not equipped with fish holds and ice is simply not used.
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    Indian Ocean Commission's Regional Fisheries and Aquaculture Strategy (2015-2025) 2014
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    Fishery resources are one of the most important resources available to the countries of the Eastern and Southern Africa - Indian Ocean (ESA-IO) region in general and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) countries in particular, of great value to their food and nutritional security, livelihoods and economic growth requirements. Two main categories of resources coexist: tuna (and associated) resources and other resources (demersal fish, crustaceans, molluscs and small pelagics). Commonly identified t ransnational and non-transnational fishing resources include tuna, lobsters, shrimps, crabs, bivalves, octopus, trepangs, sharks, reef species and small pelagics (e.g. mackerel). Coastal resources are considered to be over-exploited. Tuna resources, for the most part, do not show obvious signs of overexploitation, although this does not exclude the need for a precautionary approach to their management.

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