Better use of Mauritius’ ‘ocean economy’ can create 25,000 jobs, and unlock investments worth $600 million, the country’s Prime Minister had said.
The aim of prime minster Anerood Jugnauth is to develop ocean assets into one of the innovative pillars of the economy, he said in his keynote address at the opening of the ministerial meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Blue Economy Conference. The island’s exclusive economic zone represents 2.3m sq km, is nearly an entire 1% of the world’s oceans, and is the 5th largest EEZ in the world.
Opportunities include the second largest tuna stock in the world; an annual aquaculture potential of more than 10,000 metric tons; strategic positioning of ports, and Port Louis as a hub for various port-related activities; and the potential for deep seawater applications.
The government has already initiated several measures aiming at tapping these opportunities, namely the creation of a ministry dedicated to the The IORA Blue Economy Conference Ocean Economy, the setting up of a National Ocean Council for implementation of developmental projects, and of a Continental Shelf, Maritime Zones Administration and Exploration Department to develop the offshore hydrocarbon and minerals sector of Mauritius.
The Blue Economy is envisaged as the integration of Ocean Economy development with the principles of social inclusion, environmental sustainability and innovative, dynamic business models. It is founded upon a systems approach, wherein renewable and organic inputs are fed into sustainably designed systems to fuel “blue growth”. Such “blue growth” addresses the problems of resource scarcity and waste disposal, while delivering sustainable development that enhances human welfare in a holistic manner.
The development of the Blue Economy holds immense promise for the Indian Ocean region. The Indian Ocean is the world’s preeminent seaway for trade and commerce. It is also endowed with a wealth of natural resources, which are, as yet, largely untapped.