The E€OFISH program benefits from € 28 million over 4 years (until September 2024).

photo : J.Rombi

On December 9, the E€OFISH * program was launched in Port Louis in the presence of Vincent Degert, Ambassador of the European Union for Mauritius and the Seychelles, Vêlayoudom Marimoutou, Secretary General of the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC ) and Nandcoomar Bodha, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade of Mauritius.

After the SmartFish (photo) and SWIOFISH programs, E€OFISH’s mission is to support sustainable fishing actions in a vast area beyond the western Indian Ocean. Starting from the natural principle that the stocks of fishery resources know no borders, the various experts have implemented holistic conservation actions. This is how the countries bordering Lakes Victoria and Tanganyika and those of the Indian Ocean are invited to work together. It is since 1987, with the first regional fisheries program, that the IOC has implemented such initiatives. E€OFISH builds on these decades of experience while steadily expanding its network of relevant institutions and governments. The ultimate idea is to communicate simple and transferable techniques to local communities to improve their living conditions and thus promote equitable economic growth. Storage, conservation or transport are often poorly controlled and losses are estimated at 30 to 70% for small fishermen.

The best protectors are the small fishermen

For Vêlayoudom Marimoutou: “the depletion of resources is reflected in our country by a strengthening of cooperation, in particular with the reactivation of the PRSP (Regional Fisheries Surveillance Program NDLR)”, recalling in passing the disastrous impact of illegal fishing in our Indian Ocean waters (26 illegal fishing boats have been arrested since 2017). Illegal fishing estimated at a value of 10 billion € each year at the global level according to Vincent Degert who underlines how the sharing of experience has already shown its effectiveness but “on condition that all countries cooperate” thus highlighting those who , naive or complacent accomplices, let it go, not to say encourage illegal fishing. At the same time, the EU has already invested no less than € 7.8 million in 9 projects to promote artisanal fishing, as it is true that the best protectors of the environment are small-scale fishermen, says the ambassador. A remark echoed by Nandcoomar Bodha: “we have all the major partners, now we must think about integrating the communities of small-scale fishermen …” The minister invited the audience to think about an upcoming holding of the Fisheries Conference in Mauritius. The E€OFISH program benefits from € 28 million over 4 years (until September 2024).

Jacques Rombi


Small-scale fishermen exhibition at the SMART Fish workshop in Entebbe, Uganda, in January 2014

* E€OFISH is a program promoted and funded by the European Union, and implemented by the Indian Ocean Commission in partnership with the Lake Tanganyika Agency, the Lake Victoria Fishery Organization, the Marché Common East and Southern Africa, the East African Community, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development, the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission, the Southern African Development Community as well as the fisheries of the southwest Indian Ocean.