Kevin Ramkaloan, director of new business development at Board of Investment Mauritius, indicated that the ocean state is fully committed to sound ocean governance principles in this regard.
“The Ocean Economy roadmap has been developed based on six fundamental principles that underlie all economic activities that will be pursued. These principles are economic efficiency, equity, ecological principles, social partnership, safety and compliance with international instruments,” Ramkaloan told CNBCafrica.com.
“The National Taskforce, which has been appointed to oversee the ocean economy, will earmark marine protected zones and ensure the proclamation of marine protected areas as required, in addition to the eleven fishing reserves, six marine parks and reserves and the multiple-use Marine Protected Area that has been proclaimed.”
WHAT IS AN OCEAN ECONOMY?
The ocean, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council on Oceans, offers great opportunity for economic growth and development as well as supports the very existence of humanity through oxygen provision and climate regulation.
“The ocean economy is usually defined as including any economic activity which directly or indirectly uses the sea as an input. It is different from the coastal economy, which represents all economic activity which takes place in the coastal region, and not necessarily using the ocean as an input,” Ramkaloan explained.
THE VALUE THAT OCEANS PROVIDES
While it is estimated that the services provided by the oceans have been valued at over 21 trillion US dollars, the ocean economy’s contribution to Mauritius specifically, was estimated to be around three billion Mauritian rupees in 2013.
This is also expected to result in an increase in jobs in the country from about 15,000 in 2013 to over 20,000 by 2015, and close to 25,000 by 2020.
“In Mauritius, and elsewhere, sea water air cooling projects using the coldness properties of deep sea water are being considered. Deep ocean water applications can also unlock an array of high-value activities using the nutrient and mineral properties of this deep sea water. In addition, recent offshore hydrocarbon deposits are also improving the global stocks of fossil fuels,” said Ramkaloan.
“The fisheries sector alone creates jobs for 180 million people while providing a primary source of protein for over a billion people. Maritime transport supports 90 per cent of global trade volume. Oceans also provide marine renewable energy sources, including wind, wave, ocean thermal energy conversion, tidal and saline energies.”
A NATIONAL VISION
The country’s government has also laid out a vision to make Mauritius a nation fully conscious of its immense potential as an ocean state within the next ten years.
“Seven priority areas have been identified in the Ocean Economy roadmap. These are: seabed exploration for hydrocarbon and minerals, fishing, seafood processing and aquaculture, deep ocean water applications, marine services, seaport-related activities, marine renewable energies, ocean knowledge,” Ramkaloan said.
“In addition, relevant ministries and agencies have been mandated to implement the action plan for the development of each of these priority areas through the setting up of advisory councils, comprising of public, private and civil society representatives.”
PROMOTING THE DEVELOPMENT OF MAURITIUS
The Maurice Ile Durable (MID), another long-term vision initiated by the Mauritian government, is based on environmental knowledge in the field of oceanography. It is a comprehensive and robust regulatory and legal framework for the ocean economy and a significant contribution to energy security through marine energy, to name a few.
Ramkaloan added that the development of the ocean economy is linked to the MID’ vision, which highlights the need for a national policy on the sustainable management and use of ocean and marine resources.
“Some key projects already under the MID action plan relate to the protection of coastal zones and marine ecosystems as well as the creation of sand banks. In addition, consultations on protecting and enhancing the function of the ocean as a carbon sink are on-going,” he explained.
“Mauritius is also actively participating in regional initiatives for sustainable development, surveillance and combatting illegal unreported and unregulated activities in our maritime zone.”