Galleries more

Videos more

Dictionary more

The Struggle for Fisher Cards for Fishers without continues


The Komite Konzwin Peser San Kart Sid-Est – Rezyonal LALIT Curepipe-Lesid jointly with Sindika Peser, the Fishers' union wrote to Fisheries Minister Maudhoo the beginning of this month to protest against the delay in procedures for fishers to obtain fisher cards. He has not replied up to now. 

Fishers without cards cannot get a license to fish in their own boats, nor can they get subsidies that are given to fishers with cards to buy a fishing boat to fish off-lagoon, nor do they get the bad weather allowance that fishers with cards get, nor are they given safety equipment. Without the presence of a fisher with a card when they are out fishing, they risk getting fines by fisheries officers or coast guards policing the lagoons. Some of them have been waiting for over 10 years for fishing cards they applied for from the Fisheries Ministry. The Finance Minister announced in the 2021-22 budget that provision was being made for 500 fishing cards to be allotted. Fishers without cards have already received their letters to pass a medical fitness test at their regional hospital and have been told to submit a certificate of character. But they are waiting for an announcement from the Fisheries Minister on what they need to do to get their fisher card. 

This is what the letter is about. This is what it says: 

 To the Minister of Blue Economy,

 Marine Resources, Fisheries, and Shipping,

 Hon. Sudheer Maudhoo

and Through Permanent Secretary  

LIC Building, John Kennedy Street, Port Louis

6 October, 2021

Dear Sir,

We wonder whether you have noticed, but we are now in early October. We feel obliged to inform you of the date as you declared in the National Assembly that General Fisher Courses for applicants for artisanal fisher cards would begin on 1st September, last month. They have not up to now.

Neither have the new Fishing Proficiency Tests that you formally agreed would be introduced so that the obtention of artisanal fisher cards would, like driving licenses, be based on fishing skills of applicants, been organised by the Ministry.

Nor to our knowledge have the new regulations and conditions attached to artisanal fisher cards as per our agreement after our proposed amendments been passed by you.

Let us analyse the chronology of events.

We met with you on the 8th of July this year in a formal meeting to discuss criteria for obtention of off-lagoon artisanal fisher cards. You agreed in this meeting that your Ministry has a responsibility to ensure that artisanal fisher cards are issued to bona fide fishers who are trained in security at sea given that off-lagoon fishing can be dangerous. In this meeting, you gave us two appendices containing your proposed both new regulations and new conditions attached to the artisanal fisher card.

We, in our meetings with our members respectively and in joint meeting between our two organisations, in good faith, discussed these two annexes. We jointly prepared a document dated 21st July 2021 containing our counter-proposals that we circulated to the Press and to Members of the National Assembly so that there be public debate on the criteria used by the Ministry for applicant fishers to get fisher cards and also the Ministry's conditions attached to fisher cards.

On the 3rd of August, you replied to a Parliamentary Question in which you stated that you would meet with us on Thursday 5th of August to discuss your new proposed Regulations and proposed Conditions attached to artisanal fisher cards. We were summoned to this meeting a day later, that is, on the 4th of August. You also announced in the National Assembly that General Fisher Courses would begin on the 1st of September.

On 5th of August, you did indeed meet with us and agreement to amendments to your proposed Regulations defining criteria for the obtention of artisanal fisher cards and conditions attached to these fisher cards was found. We sent you a copy of this agreement as minuted by us in this formal meeting on the 11th of August, 6 days later.

Just over a week later on the 20th of August, we wrote to you to ask for an urgent Technical Committee to start conceptualising and organising the new fisher Proficiency Test to be conducted by professional off-lagoon fishers with 10 years experience or more on debarkader in all fishing Zones. This test would ensure transparency in the selection exercise as well as ensuring that bona fide fishers are selected.You did not deign to reply.

Almost three weeks later, on the 9th of September, seeing that you seemed totally unconcerned with setting up these Proficiency Tests, the Syndicat des Pecheurs sent you model questions for these tests after consultation with professional off-lagoon fisher. Again, you did not reply.

Industrial relations depend on good faith. We have acted on good faith and have acted responsibly. Have you? Or was all this consultation and negotiation mere koz-koze for you? In our view, the test of your good faith and sense of responsibility as a Minister is whether the new regulations and conditions attached to the fisher card as per our agreement are passed, whether the new Proficiency Test system is duly introduced and whether subsequently, the General Fisher Courses with an intake of 120 applicant fishers every six weeks as you announced in the National Assembly.

We hope you will finally act responsibly and in good faith,Yours sincerely,

Judex Ramphul Syndicat des Pecheurs

Jean Baptiste Arlandin & Rajni Lallah

Komite Konzwin Peser-San-Kart Sid-Est – Rezyonal LALIT Curepipe-Lesid 

Copy to the PressCopy to Members of the National Assembly