Located at the northern tip of Mauritius, Cap Malheureux Beach (Cape Misfortune) named for the numerous ships that foundered in that area is a place of great historical value for the island. The picturesque sandy beach has a stunning view of the islands off the coasts and not to mention the charcoal black volcanic rocks extending all the way from the base of the beach to the sea. These rocks were definitely the main attraction of the beach.
The sights of multiple minuscule wooden boats moored along the coast, fishermen unloading their catch, some weighing and selling the fish on the beach were all clear indications on how active artisanal fishing was in that area and to the individuals residing in close proximity to the sea at Cap Malheureux which is still a small fishing village.
Being an artisanal fishermen is no doubt a noble but dangerous job. It does not only serve as a source of income for the fishermen, but the catch provides a source of protein (and omega-3 fatty acid) to the community whilst addressing one of the basic human necessities. Fishermen in all parts of the world nowadays face several challenges one of which includes the reduction of fish due to overfishing. And who’s to blame? Certainly not the artisanal fishermen as they catch a maximum of around 30 fish per day but an industrial fishing vessels catches to a maximum of 250 tonnes per day plus the by catch.
Much are being done to address the root causes of over fishing around the globe. With more awareness on sustainable fishing, stricter fishing related laws being implemented, marine parks and Integrated Coastal Zone Management there’s no denying that there is a chance that the global fish stocks might replenish.
It’s obvious that nowadays the number of youth choosing to become a fisherman is depleting rapidly not only in Mauritius but Seychelles as well. Why is that? Definitely their mindset is one of the reasons why but there are many other challenges that are inhibiting youth’ participation in fisheries. Artisanal fishing itself should not be overlooked and abandon as it is an important sector in the Blue Economy.
Written by : Camilla Labonte