Honourable Vishnu Lutchmeenaraidoo, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade,
Honourable Premdut Koonjoo, Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine resources , Fisheries and Shipping
Members of the Diplomatic Corps,
Monsieur le Représentant du Ministère des Pêches de Madagascar,
Representatives of the Ministry of Fisheries in Mauritius and Seychelles
Representatives of the EU fishing fleets,
Representatives of the seafood sector of the Indian Ocean,
Esteemed guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, let me express my great pleasure to attend today the 3rd Concertation meeting among the EU Fishing industry and Indian Ocean processing Industry here in Mauritius. Today, we have at the same table, the private sector operators of the tropical tuna value chain (i.e. the EU fleets and the tuna processors) as well as the public administrations in charge of Fisheries from Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles.
I should not forget His Excellency Ambassador Dillum and the MARE Director, Anders Jessens, who will steer the technical meeting together towards good and tangible results. Let me thank you both for your commitments to achieve what was agreed in the previous meetings held in Brussels in August and October 2018.
You will certainly remember the various steps we accomplished last year, following the visit of the Director General of MARE, Mr.Joao Aguiar-Machado in May 2018. The initial discussion regarding a forum gathering the EU fleets and seafood processors of the region has now been translated into concrete actions, thanks to the Mauritius Ministry of Foreign Affairs and DG MARE.
This is the third meeting and the first one held in the Region.
I take this opportunity to warmly thank the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the organisation of this event. This reflects the high expectations Mauritius foresees from the discussions.
We consider from our side, that the 3rd concertation meeting is the result of our solid partnership with the Indian Ocean Nations. It demonstrates that the EU is a reliable and responsive partner in the region.
This meeting is for us a key milestone in our bilateral and regional cooperation.
In the Indian Ocean, fishery is NOT an isolated sector, a stand-alone technical issue, but it is well embedded in our bilateral relations. This is why we are carrying out several programmes at regional and national levels which are delivering a comprehensive overall package to ensure sustainable fisheries and use of marine resources of the Oceans.
On maritime security, the European Union Naval Force, also known as Operation ATALANTA (EU first ever naval operation), has secured the maritime routes and ensured the continuity of the exports of the islands of the Indian Ocean. The CRIMARIO and MASE programmes are currently implementing actions to promote maritime security and maritime governance in the Eastern, Southern African and Indian Ocean region
Moreover, the European Union has developed a range of bilateral cooperation and partnership agreements, including Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements, under which it provides technical support to tackle illegal fishing and to improve marine and coastal management in line with sustainable blue economic growth.
Throughout this cooperation, we strongly encourage efforts for implementation of measures and regulations aimed at preventing Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. We as well, support sustainable fisheries management under the newly funded ECOFISH programme implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission.
Moreover, the support to the local sector and artisanal fisheries is a priority for which we mobilize funding. Finally, we are as well providing scientific supports to the national research institutions for better assessment of the fish stocks and monitoring of the landings at port.
Hon. Ministers, Esteemed guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Agreements generate important economic benefits when they are combined with the preferential trade regime in the framework of the Interim Economic Partnership Agreement between the Eastern and Southern Africa Region and the European Union for frozen and canned tuna products.
All in one, these two complementary agreements have made Seychelles and Mauritius respectively the second and third exporters to the EU market of canned tuna (year 2017).
This is a remarkable achievement that contributes to the national economy and prosperity of these islands. In addition, it demonstrates that small islands of the Indian Ocean can be a big player in the world seafood sector. Madagascar as well, has shown a vibrant seafood sectoral growth with the shrimp and tuna export products over the recent years.
Esteemed guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 3rd concertation meeting today should effectively allow that all the conditions are met for a frank and open dialogue on the respective views and positions of each Party.
A continuous dialogue among the stakeholders reflects the spirit of the EU’s values and those mentioned in the Common Fisheries Policy.
We will always support discussion and dialogue for advancing policies and cooperation on a mutually agreed basis.
Thank you for your attention.