Fish-Aggregating Devices (FADS) as a Tool to Enhance Production of Artisanal Fishermen: Problems and Perspectives
Sheik Mamode, A.
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Although Mauritius has a total land area of 2200 km2 and an EEZ of 1.6 million km2 due to the presence of outer islands, its total production of fish is relatively low. This is due to the fact that the primary productivity of the surrounding sea is one of the lowest in the Indian Ocean, at 0.15 g/m2/day (FAO/IOP, 1978). In the lagoon and reef drop-off of Mauritius, 2,840 artisanal fishermen produced only 1,663 t of fish in 1993. The MSY of this area is estimated at 1,669 t (Samboo & Mauree, 1987). The demand for fish products is on the increase in Mauritius, due to the improving living standards of the population, and to the increasing consciousness of the benefits to health of fish protein; the per capita consumption has increased from 12.5 kg in 1985 to 19 kg in 1994. As the catch from the lagoon can hardly be improved, the development of other fisheries has gained importance. It is in this context that a FAD-associated fishery was introduced in 1985 to tap the migratory pelagic resources of the near offshore waters of the island (Roullot et al., 1988). At present there are 21 FADs in operation around the island, in waters from 400 to 3000 m deep and at 1.5 to 12 nm from the coast.