Twenty sites have been identified for large scale aquaculture projects and 11 for small scale aquaculture activities. Out of the 11 sites, 10 sites on which floating cage structures have been placed have been allocated to fishermen cooperative societies throughout the island, said Mr Soonildut Bholah, Acting Minister of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping, in reply to a Parliamentary Question on 9 May 2017 at the National Assembly.
He added that in a bid to promote aquaculture, letters of authorisation have been issued to six promoters to carry out aquaculture projects in six barachois which have been vested in the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping against set conditions.
Referring to concessions, Minister Bholah stated that five have been granted to the Ferme Marine de Mahebourg, six are in the process of securing the EIA licence, seven sites are committed, and two sites are still available. The extent of sea concessions for aquaculture is regulated under the Fisheries and Marine Resources Act and each aquaculture concession is of a radius of up to 300 meters around the GPS coordinates of a site, he said.
Large scale aquaculture projects
Aquaculture sites for large scale activities, he pointed out, are located outside known fishing grounds to limit impact on fishermen operating in these regions. Furthermore, he said that the concessionaires need to consult the fishermen community operating in the region prior to the implementation of any aquaculture project to comply with the requirements of the EIA licence.
Only large scale aquaculture projects require an EIA licence prior to implementation of the project. The EIA ensures that the aquaculture companies take all necessary precautions to prevent any negative impact on the ecosystem.
The activities are monitored by a committee at the level of the Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Environment and Sustainable Development and which comprises officers of the Ministry of Ocean Economy, Marine Resources, Fisheries and Shipping to ensure that the concessionaire is compliant with the conditions set out in the EIA licence. In addition, seabed samples are taken to monitor the impact of marine fish farming on the ecosystem.