The global export value of fish and other sea products has increased dramatically
over recent decades, soaring from USD 15 billion in 1980 to USD 130 billion today.
This classifies fish among the largest traded international commodity. Almost 200
countries supply fish and seafood products to the global marketplace consisting
of more than 800 commercially important species of fish, crustaceans and mollusks.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO),
the consumption of fish and fishery products increased from approximately 38 million
tons in 1960 to 130 million tons by 2012, a 242% increase, representing an annual
growth rate of around 3%. While a portion of the increase in demand has been fueled
by population growth, another factor is that a greater volume of seafood is being
used for the production of fish meals and related products.
The seafood industry represents 1.5% of national GDP and it employs around 16,000
people. The sector is one of the fastest growing industries with an average growth
of around 6% since 2008. Export earnings have grown from MUR 9.481 billion in 2011
to MUR 14.607 billion in 2013. As far as this year is concerned, seafood exports
for the period Jan – June 2014 amount to MUR 6.833 billion.
Europe remains a major market for Mauritian seafood exports. Processed tuna is the
main product and the country supplies around one third of the UK tinned-tuna market.
Asia, particularly Japan and China, are also attractive markets which are already
contributing significantly in terms of export earnings. Besides the export of raw
fish to these markets, value-added sashimi grade tuna is being exported to Japan.
It is expected that processing will involve more value addition.
Key Facts (2013):
Contribution to GDP
Exports, including Re-export
MUR 14.607 billion
No. of callings of foreign fishing vessels
No. of licenses issued to foreign fishing vessels
Revenue from fishing licenses
MUR 69 million
Approximate employment in seafood processing
6, 000 jobs
Approximate indirect employment in the seafood sector (ancillary services)
10, 000 jobs
Mauritius – China agreement
Mauritius has intensified its diversification strategy, targeting the Chinese
market. During the visit of the Minister of Fisheries to China in July 2013 a
Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the General Administration of
Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) of China and the Ministry
of Fisheries. The agreement was signed with the objective to facilitate market access by ensuring
the safety of fish and fisheries products exported by Mauritius to the People’s
Republic of China. It has opened the way for investments by Chinese companies in
fisheries and seafood related activities.
In 2013, seafood exports to the People’s Republic of China recorded a growth of 63%
compared to 2012. Around MUR 67 million worth of frozen fish were exported in 2013
as compared to MUR 41 million in 2012. The prospects for 2014 are very promising.
For the first semester alone, the value of sea products exported to China is estimated
at around MUR 30 million.
Following a study carried out by the Shandong Xinfa Fishery Group Co Ltd, the Mauritian
business environment is perceived as an ideal business platform. The Group thus
decided to set up a subsidiary in Mauritius for its fishing activities. Shandong
Xinfa Fishery Group Co Ltd is one of the largest integrated fishing companies in
China. It operates around 89 fishing vessels worldwide, 2 fishing harbors, cold
rooms with a total capacity of some 120,000 tons, 3 fish processing plants, 1 ship
yard and a fishing net factory.
Xinfa Overseas Company Ltd has invested in 5 purse seine fishing vessels all of
which sail under the Mauritius Flag. It has now engaged in commercial tuna fishing
since January 2014. Part of the catch is sold to local canneries and the remaining
exported to China. The company has invested USD 20 million in the project.
Interest has also been expressed by other Chinese promoters to develop seafood related
projects. Of importance is the LHF Marine Development project which relates to the
development of Mauritius as a fishing hub for the company’s operations in the Indian
Ocean. The promoters have been granted initial authorizations by local authorities
and the company is presently working towards securing its assets for its Mauritius
operations. The promoters expect to commence operations by the first quarter of